What We’re Missing is the latest album from Grayscale, a pop punk band out of Philadelphia. In this album, poppy melodic vocals and guitars are paired up with edgier rock bass and percussion melodies that are intricately layered to create an almost immersive experience. This is all without taking the emotionally charged lyrics that literally take your breath away at times. Grayscale teamed up with producer Gary Gioffi (Transit, Misser, A Will Away), mix engineer Phil Dubnick (Transit, Off & On), and Grammy Award winning mastering engineer Brian Gardner (The Story So Far, Teagan & Sara, Kendrick Lamar) for What We’re Missing. Together, all involved have produced is what has to be one of the most emotionally charged and raw album of 2016 so far.
“Tense” provides a glorious prelude and gives you a sense of what this album is all about. The lyrics themselves are very story like but still very blunt. Similar to the songwriting of Billie Joe Armstrong, but with that same lyrical dissonance that Weezer has at times. Though as the album progresses, so does the overall sound and story lines. Everything just intensifies, and whether or not you relate to it, you’re forced to recognize the beauty in What We’re Missing.
The lyrics overall are so emotionally powerful and charged, though they do take on a more heartbroken heavy storyline. If that’s not your cup of tea, then What We’re Missing might not be for you. However, if you find it very easy to relate to stories about love and loss, pains and growth, and aren’t afraid to let the music take you down a darker road, then What We’re Missing just might be the album that’s missing from your music library.
“What We’re Missing is a collection of our thoughts, feelings, and stories from the past two years. It’s a very personal record for all of us. It’s brutally honest and revealing of certain happenings in our lives both happy and sad. Collin and Dallas are never afraid to call things as they see them, lyrically, and that kind of bluntness certainly didn’t change for this record. We held nothing back. We put everything that we had into these songs, leaving us completely unveiled and vulnerable, but in a way that was therapeutic. It allowed us to release the thoughts and feelings that were weighing us down, and tell each individual story from our perspective. We revealed our deepest emotion on this record, and I think people will take notice of that.”
– drummer Nick Veno
There’s a full list of songs that just take your breath away. There’s “Catholic” and “Say Something,” both of which describe the world falling apart around you as well as trying to find the strength to pick it up and move on. However, the most emotionally powerful song on What We’re Missing is “Irish Curtains.” The calming but downcast, crystal clear acoustic melody is beautifully paired with heart wrenchingly blunt lyrics that explicitly describe suicide and self-harm. It doesn’t glorify these things, but mimics a conversation that will be all too familiar to anyone who has a loved one struggle with either one of these things.
However, without the beautiful production, master engineering, and mixing from Gioffi, Gardner, and Dubnick – without the skillful and immersive layering of melodies in every song – What We’re Missing wouldn’t carry as much of an emotional punch as it does. The delivery would falter, and the true meaning and message behind these songs would be lost to the masses.
In the end, this might not be the song that you listen to every day. It might not be your go to, feel good album. But if you turn out to like it, What We’re Missing will be the album that you come back to time and time again for the stories, the emotion, and the music.
What We’re Missing is out on February 12 through Anchor Eighty Four Records. Can’t wait that long to hear it? Grayscale also have their album streaming on AltPress.com