It’s at this time of year that it gets noticeably colder here in the UK. So, let’s sing a song of winter. The meteorological office will say that’s premature – it’s still officially autumn – but hats and gloves have been at the ready in this household for several days now. And Grice released his Polarchoral album just two days ago; so, I can’t be the only one feeling the chill.

Grice in concert.

Grice is one of those artists who relies on his music to speak for him. He lives and works away from the limelight in Devon and the South London suburbs. He is not backed by a big promoter, and he doesn’t do a lot of self-promotion. But he does have some influential friends, notably Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen (both formerly of Japan).

Martin Charles Grice Peters was born in Wimbledon and studied at Croydon Art College on the southern edge of England’s capital city. He formed and fronted several pop/rock bands before releasing his first solo album, Propeller, in 2012. His material is usually described as art-rock. In style, it sits close to Japan, Talk Talk and No Man.

Polarchoral is very much in that vein.

The Polarchoral album contains 10 songs, ranging in length from around 4 to 14 minutes. The musicianship is excellent, and the production is first class. The sounds are not layered like cake, they are spread across the sonic canvas like bold strokes of paint on a modern masterpiece. Here a double bass peeps out from between the synth sounds or a muted trumpet plays call and response with the drum kit. Every instrument has something to say and has the space to say it.

POLARCHORAL is a set of powerful, intricate and emotionally challenging songs which explore the bi-polarity of personal relationships and ideologies, the attraction and division of people and the confusion, conflict and hurt prevalent in our times. Conflict divides but also unites, without division there is no life. This is music for the Unconsoled, songs from the rain that speak of hope, love and defiance.

‘Creating this album has been a process of looking inward through the microscope as much as looking outward and upwards through the telescope into the universal’.

The Polarchoral Bandcamp page.

Available as a digital download (£10) or a CD (£12), and with a total running time of 70 minutes, it’s exceptional value. This one gets the Crotchety 5-star recommendation.

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