If Good Graces self-titled EP doesn’t bring on fever dreams of cornerstone No Idea Records’ bands like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike, along with 90s Emo like Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker, you’re just doing it wrong. Even their irony-laden song titles scream reformed 90s Ska or Hardcore kid.
Good Graces are no anomaly though. Bands like Title Fight, Make Do and Mend, Touché Amore, La Dispute, and The World Is A Beautiful Place… are deserved leaders of a scene that, in many ways, seems to be reenacting the Post-hardcore and/or Emo shift of the 90s. As a guy who was around for the last time these things were “things”, it’s both humorous and fascinating to see.
Musically, Good Graces are reminscent of a simplistic Title Fight/early Fairweather hybrid. So, you’re really gonna need big anthemic vocals to drive it home. With a voice that honestly made me wonder if Wisdom In Chains’ Mad Joe Black wasn’t doing his best Chuck Ragan impression, Good Graces’ singer, Aaron Ditro, would seem to have those qualifications in spades. But there is a dynamic flatness to those elements, both separately and in conjunction. The vocals run right along with music, rarely playing off each other or taking chances. There is big potential here, but more audible zeal and more sonic personality are sorely needed.
Like many other bands on this basic path, Good Graces don’t approach the musical complexity and sophistication of their 90s counterparts. However, it’d be a mistake to let notion carry you off. Where bands like Mineral and Small Brown Bike are about craft first and character second (though not very far behind), Good Graces, as with many of their contemporary role models, seem to firmly put character first. There’s something inherently punk about that, no?