by Jonathan Bunce
New Year's Eve, 1998
I first saw 122 Greige back in 1993 on the teeny-tiny stage
of the Silver Shack in Toronto's Kensington Market. They were opening for my old band A Tuesday Weld and though I didn't really know who those guys were or where they'd come from, their music immediately resonated with me.
From the get-go, Greige have had an innate ability to channel that specifically suburban melancholy we all feel into something sweet and powerful. Throw on Moving Away From the Sun and you'll understand. I think that night at the old Silver Shack was one of 122 Greige's first
shows and at that point they'd already been around for four years...which means in ‘99 they'll be celebrating their tenth anniversary. Which gives you an idea how much success (as the music industry defines it) means to
them. No shit, they really are just "about the music." They seem to be perfectly happy simply strumming away in blissful obscurity. Like thousands of other bands, Greige took their initial cues from the Velvet Underground, but rather than aping the Velvets' artiness or jangliness or
superficial "street"-ness, they've tapped into the same stream of soul-searching that Lou and co. did on their Third Album and made it their own. Other bands have floated down that river before, and so Joy Division,
Galaxie 500, Felt, Moose, Mercury Rev and Yo La Tengo are all 122 Greige's true antecedents, rather than mere points of derivation.
Back in the day, I pinned ‘em as "introspective drift-rock." That still holds true.
Moving Away From the Sun is the culmination of those ten years of looking inward and flowing away. It's all here: the epic nine-minute live favourite "If You Want Me To", the heavenly textures of "Come Away" and "You Will Never Know" (the latter featuring vocals by Mean Red Spiders' Lisa Nighswander),real rockers like "Gone Beyond Velvet" and the choir of drunks on fire in "Three-Alarm." See, these guys are deep, but they're still rock ‘n' roll.
As they ride those three perfect chords to the dawn, you know they're
Moving Away From the Sun
122 Greige (gray-je) are: Adam Rosen, Chad Storie, Matt Robinson