Innovative and unconventional Neon Gru are an emerging six-piece alt-pop band whose eclectic offbeat rhythms and smooth melodies deserve your ears 

Neon Gru – I Am A Bird

Look. As a reviewer and musician myself, I am used to reading phrases on press releases like ‘intricately woven soundscape’ and ‘defies genre boundaries’. It is rarer that I think those phrases are fully justified. But dammit, if Neon Gru hasn’t pulled it off.

‘I Am A Bird’, from Neon Gru’s titular debut EP, reminded me of nothing so much as progressing through a psychedelic video game. It starts with folky singer-songwriter melodies, and lush harmonies (I started my hero’s journey!), then takes a sharp turn around the 1.30 minute mark into electro-rock (Oh no, the big boss appeared!), then finishes with grand, cinematic strings (Sweet victory!). This could add up to a jagged, confusing track, but somehow it all works. Lyrically, it describes ‘a bird on Hollywood Boulevard’ – the eternal story of a small, delicate thing in a big, hungry city.  I can hear influences from Joni Mitchell to Linkin Park, but honestly would be hard pressed to put a genre label on it – which I think they intended.

It would have to be an accomplished group of musicians to handle these stylistic pivots, and Neon Gru are, its members having worked with artists such Harry Styles and Nile Rodgers. Lead singer Ny Oh handles the versatile vocals with particular aplomb. This is still an early stage band, but with such a bold debut and praise from BBC Introducing, they are sure to gain notice. They won’t be for everybody, but I know there will be plenty who will be fascinated by Neon Gru.

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Words Eden Tredwell