• The Vibe

Grief Scene All Set To Release Debut Album

Born under late summer skies in the shadow of former factories, Grief Scene is the latest project from British musician Ian Tilling (Trapped Mice, Leoprrrds). After relocating from the UK to Berlin in 2016, still sore from leaving his band behind, he was happy to take a break from songwriting for a while, playing drums in a couple of local bands. When one of those bands broke up due to someone leaving town, the disappointment, coupled with a creeping sense of unease at the way the world was heading, became too much, and Grief Scene was born.

Bad Times is an album of songs about lost friendship, climate anxiety, and the ongoing search for artistic relevance in an ever-changing world. Written and recorded in three months in the autumn of 2019, it is a pre-corona album for post-corona times. It is the sound of a songwriter desperate to document anything and everything all at once, in a cathartic burst of creativity after years spent waiting in the shadows.

Album opener 'Cities Like These' is both a love letter to Berlin, and a weary sigh at the reality of living in a city where the people who arrive, and enrich your life with such intensity, eventually leave, pulled away by the same yearning that brought them there in the first place. After this the album moves on to its central theme of climate anxiety. 'This Light' is a taut stream-of-consciousness lament set against Sonic Youth guitars, while album title track 'Bad Times' is a ballad of uncertainty and self-doubt which lingers hauntingly for a few global-warming-themed verses before exploding into a frenzy of crashing drums and squealing guitars.

Grief Scene share a love of American indie-rock with contempories such as Car Seat Headrest and Alex G, but there is an inescapably British sense of humour to some of the songs, reminiscent of The Wedding Present. On 'Buffo The Great' Tilling sings of a circus clown, inspired by the Angela Carter creation, once at the very top of his game but now reduced to telling his story of faded grandeur to anyone who'll listen.

It is this sense of loss, coupled with the slight embarrassment at feeling self-important enough to write about it, that lends Bad Times its urgency and its heart. This is captured once more on album closer 'The Claw', a song that sings of our darkest moments before erupting into a cacophony of noise. If these times in which we find ourselves are really the beginning of the end, then let's not go quietly.