Bands we miss – Pink Grease

Sometimes we discuss a band that causes some to moan, “hey, that’s not an electronic artist”. Well, this is likely to be one of those cases, but there is reason behind everything we do here.

Pink Grease are one of the more interesting bands to have crosses our path in a very long time. They came to out attention around the time of the release of their first album, This is For Real in 2004 because they were on our favourite record label, Mute Records and that’s been a starting point of many a long, beautiful relationship for us. It wasn’t what we were expecting, hard to describe musically, but the best we can come up with very authentically old-school punk (though British it’s more of a New York Dolls-style punk than Sex Pistols) with a strange, shouldn’t-work-but-it-does strong electro element.

So what makes that a band for discussion on Softsynth. Well, as we’ve discussed before, we make a distinction between a band that simply “uses a synthesizer” and one that considers synths central to their sound both sonically and attitudinally. Pink Grease is absolutely such a band, and indeed their vintage, home-made synths defined the band’s sound beyond anything else.

They had a short-lived podcast on Mute where they extolled the virtue of synths ad nauseum, and it was clear this was the component part of their sound they considered paramount. Odd for such a punk-influenced band but not so much when you consider the synthesizer is the ultimate punk instrument (we will write a separate post building on this theory).

The combinant sound was extraordinary and utterly original. The debut album was a treat and the wait was on for what came next. They summed up the anticipation and their evolving sound thusly:

“Now we have finished our new 2nd album which will see the next evolution of our subterranean glam electronic rock group. It will be out in 2007. Guitars are great but we are using more synthesisers now, however we are still producing hi N R G pedal-to-the-floor cerebral and visceral bodymusic rock!!”

Sadly Mute dropped the band on the eve of the anticipated release of Mechanical Heart in 2007/08 and they split up shortly thereafter. The second album was never released though it’s not that hard to find a shared copy (from the 100 or so promo copies released at the time), and the greatest tragedy is how terrific this album is. Far more electronic than its’ forerunner, far more melodic, with improved production values and kick-ass songwriting, Mechanical Heart was the album they were meant to record and it should have signaled a bright future for the band. Instead it marked the end. A far-too-common occurrence for brilliant bands who fail to find sufficient audience.

Though singer Rory Lewarne has formed a new band, White Witches, who seem to be just revving up, it’s the Pink Grease combination that was so magical and it’s that incarnation we so miss. A damn shame as we think of what could have been…

Watch: Ordinary Girl


7 Responses to “Bands we miss – Pink Grease”

  1. the guy who made the electronic instruments is making boutique synths to order – here is his website with interactive softsynths:

  2. missfrancesca Says:

    I agree. I miss Pink Grease and Mechanical Heart is a brilliant album. Nick has a great website all about his synths and I think he is selling his own creations too:

  3. Ric Sumner Says:

    I saw Pink Grease in some tiny club in Bath in 2003 before the first album proper came out and they blew me away. I was gutted when the second album got dropped, although I didn’t realise how rare copies of Mechanical Heart were – I have it but not sure if it’s an original promo or not…really chuffed to find out Rory has a new band, I will be checking them out as soon as poss!

  4. We saw the band on numerous occasions in Sheffield during the first decade of the 21st century. They were remarkably energetic and picturesque, combining the qualities of a New York Dolls tribute band with a calculated dream of the future of rock and roll. Their home built synthesisers loomed large on the stage but contributed relatively little to the overall sound of the group. We expected them to achieve greater public acclaim than they did. They were originally called Pink Grease and the Evil X. They dropped ‘and the Evil X’ in an attempt to court broader public attention.

  5. Earth Angel Says:

    Pink Grease are one of my favourite bands. They were excellent. I own This is for real and Mechanical Heart and they are both fantastic albums. Not a dud track on either….. In fact I have TIFR in my car atm and it made me want to find out what happened to them. They should have been huge!!! Shame that they split 😦 I am off to find my Pink Grease t-shirt and cry cerise slick in to it. 😦

  6. I hope they release there second album as it is a classic I think
    not sure if they have or not but really should find a way if they have not x

  7. i hope they release the second album its a classic album, not sure if they have maybe it was released I hope it is as people should be able to listen to it x

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