Translated from the Italian term "In Life" - the title for Grayscale's second record is a solid mission statement for what the band try to convey during its play time: everything in life has its ups and downs.
Sonically the band match this theme too, playing with different genres from electro-infused emo pop to their more trademarked emotionally blended pop-punk. This switching of styles undercuts the record as a whole though, with ‘Old Friends’ undoing the raw, vibrant energy built by its predecessor 'Twilight (My Heaven)'. This isn’t to suggest there’s anything outrightly poor with either track, and fans of the bands previous work will find comfort in the bands use of familiar themes on Nella Vita rest assured. However it’s clear to see the band are working on shaping a potentially new direction, and with that comes some inevitable misfires.
Nella Vita does have its gems that show a clear progression from the bands previous work though, ‘Baby Blue’ in particular sets itself out as a floor filler drenched in grooves and catchy hooks, in such quantity you’d never think the lyrical content could be so focused on hurt and regret. This contrast is what Grayscale are all about as a band, taking the dirt and down of life, and lifting it with a melody and an arm pumping chorus. It's these moments that pay evidence to the idea that a little experimentation can pay off in spadefuls sometimes.
Single ‘In Violet’ is another demonstration of the band blending differences well. Colin Walsh’s lyrics of grief and bereavement placed over scarce guitar arpeggios provides the kind of ebony vs ivory the chorus needs.The band are at their best in familiar ground: ‘Twilight (My Heaven)’ has all the riff work and pacing a prime sub-three minute pop-punk track needs. Featuring a drum fill in the second verse giving Nick Veno an opportunity to shine.
Nella Vita is a brave step for Grayscale. They maintain their cathartic and honest lyrical content, giving an authentic tone to everything on the album. But the inescapable fact is that the further the band move from the upbeat pop-punk enthused instrumentals that kick started their ascent, the harder a listen the album becomes. Whilst they’re competent in building powerful ballads like record closer ‘Tommy’s Song’ they’ve not quite cracked the key to bridging themselves into a multi faceted rock band just yet.