Granit, Granit EP
by Giovanni Guillén
When “Aresta” surfaced late last year it quickly propelled Granit into one of the more talked about bands on the Ibero-blogosphere. The buzz was certainly well deserved. The Barcelona duo had created a song that was inspired, gave light to a new facet of the Spanish indie scene, and had seemingly come out of nowhere. Amidst all the acclaim and excitement, however, it felt like fans and bloggers were stuck comparing Granit to a certain dream pop duo from Baltimore. There’s no denying the Beach House comparison holds some truth, but what grew frustrating about it was how it minimized the scope of Granit’s ambitions. The thing is Beach House, even at their most resplendent and anthemic have always favored a sense of intimacy, an attachment to enclosed spaces and structures (bedrooms, cathedrals, gardens, etc.) while Granit, on the other hand, seem more engaged with the world around them (nature, the cosmos, the elements). It is precisely that feature which makes Granit’s self-titled EP such a captivating and refreshing debut.
Even before the video for “Marea Viva” was released, Granit’s music already had me thinking of the early days of cinema, namely the work of Georges Méliès. Fantasy worlds in which the on-screen illusions weren’t the only magic to behold. Even a mere stare or ordinary gesture could be enchanting simply because it was captured on film. Opener “Aresta” echoes the spirit of such an era, balancing a fantastic wash of synths with slow percussion and a downtempo beat. In listening to the space between the rhythm, it’s hard not to imagine mysterious faces in black and white moving along at a matching frame rate. Perhaps that is why “Aresta” has aged so well, the track seesaws between opposing moods to the point where its intricacies can only be mapped out through repeated listens.
In terms of quality, the production is excellent; Granit’s rich sound pallet remains clean and sophisticated, at times even recalling the Michita Rex catalog. I like to imagine a fertile pop landscape in which Granit mine the earth right next to the likes of Fakuta and even Andrea Roca. There’s also something almost regal in the way band members Alba Blasi and Cristina Checa navigate through their own instruments. “Multiversos” shimmers as if each note was a jewel-encrusted phoneme. The extension of sounds as a form of speech allows both parts to dance ceremoniously.
Regality intersects with nature on the heartbreaking “Flames de Sorra.” The song’s vocals reflect total isolation with a setting to compliment the mindset. I immediately thought of desolate beach cliffs (think Dave Gahan in Enjoy the Silence minus the beach chair), places indifferent to finery and excess to expose real emptiness. The closer ends things on a decidedly uplifting note. What is interesting about the especially super-charged “Marea Viva" is that it finds Granit challenging all of the order the EP worked to maintain. Not that there’s anything inconsistent about it, it’s merely evidence that Granit are already looking forward, ready to engage with world in new ways.