Grizfolk chases destiny and searches for humanity in ‘Sign of the Times’ EP

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Grizfolk - 'Sign of the Times'

Reccomended Tracks: “Decoy”, “Paper Cranes,” “Sign of the Times”

Artists You Might Like: Night Riots, Smallpools, Vinyl Theatre

Don’t you know what it’s like to reach for a destiny you can’t have, or rather, cannot seem to escape? Longing and desire follow the pursuit of an elusive fate when everything appears out of reach and you cannot quite reach the unattainable yet. Through freedom, destination and travel, there comes a time and place for seeking some virality amidst life’s fast momentum. Manifest Destiny unfolds as the Swedish-American band Grizfolk embarks on a quest to live a life with extravagant adventure. Their recent EP, Sign of the Times, captures their desire to cruise down the freeway with the windows down.

Formed in Los Angeles in 2012, Grizfolk consists of Adam Roth (lead vocals, guitar), Sebastian Fritze (synthesizer, backing vocals), Fredrik Eriksson (guitar) and Bill Delia (drums). The band formed when Roth crossed paths with Eriksson and Fritze. Having explored the alternative-rock genre with their debut EP, From the Spark, released in 2014, and their full-length studio album, Waking Up the Giants, in 2016, leading to their headline Troublemaker Tour across America, Grizfolk is no stranger to the music scene.

Through Sign of the Times, recorded in Venice, CA, with longtime collaborators and producers Allen Blickle and Rich Costey — who have worked with Muse, Foster the People and Fiona Apple — they are taking a turn with electronic pop. In this exploration, Grizfolk delves into moments that define one’s life journey.

Grizfolk - 'Sign of the Times' (promotional image)

“We’re on the road all the time,” Fritze said in a 2015 article with SPIN Magazine. “As a traveling band, we have a set goal. We have to be at a destination at a certain time. Everything in-between is up for grabs. That’s our time of freedom.”

The EP’s title track, “Sign of the Times,” opens with a gentle electric guitar melody and vocalizations that add a layer of eeriness. The lyrics introduce a distinctive metaphor about navigating life, and they compare it to sailing the ocean far and blue. They sing, “I could run away toward something new / But I would stay and see it through.” The song captures the essence of commitment, as the band expresses a desire to stay through difficult times rather than running away, despite the overwhelming distractions in the world. In the chorus, their admissions explode, as depicted in the lyrics, “I was looking for a reason or a rhyme / I was looking for a sign of the times / When I run away, I’ll tell you what I find / Honey, you are a sign of the times.” This theme of yearning and the search for something undefined permeates the EP, particularly in one of the later tracks, “Medicine Man,” creating a cohesive narrative in Grizfolk’s search for purpose. As the title track, it encompasses the entire EP as they reflect on their journey in this folk-rock exploration.

Calming metaphors and beauty and delicacy capture the very essence of “Paper Cranes,” the most recent single ahead of the EP. This track delves into themes of reflection, change and self-expression, with the repetition of folding paper cranes symbolizing this beautiful creation; the song’s mention of paper birds symbolizes life’s hopes and dreams, which adds to the song’s emotional imagery. The lines, “You feel lost, I feel torn” and “Talking about being honest but it’s coming out way too fast,” highlight a struggle to communicate as they ask for openness and honesty in a song that leans heavily on the folk genre. They instead encourage the other person to shed their feelings instead of keeping them in plain sight. Rather, they aim to confront issues in their relationships with lines like, “Can’t turn the other way, tear another page, use it for a change.” It’s almost a dance of introspection and creation that looms throughout the entire song and is the most metaphorical and complex song on the EP.

We all feel lost sometimes, and occasionally, it may simply feel like you’re being haunted by imposter syndrome. It’s easy to find yourself lost in a lie, but how can you really tell the difference between what’s genuinely real and what’s not?  The track “Decoy,” gradually opens with soft synths before becoming almost brash and abrasive to match the search for clarity and truth. The song captures the struggle to break free from those illusions and it becomes palpable. We all struggle with illusions, and in “Decoy,” Grizfolk questions authenticity, describing the fight between reality and deception.

In the verses, Grizolk grapples with the difficult search for genuine connection as they fight to stay connected themselves because they don’t know who they are. The chorus becomes this declaration to avoid their own deception, as depicted in the lyrics, “Just another decoy / Nothing like the real thing / Everybody falls for fools gold / But I won’t fall again.” Grizolk consciously questions how to break free from this tightrope they are on as they cannot confront lies and let go, with the plea in subsequent lines, “Can we lose those lies, Can we lose these lies that we hold, or is this how it ends, is this how it ends.” The band wonders: is it even possible to break free? It hints at the consequences of living in a lie.

While “Medicine Man” plays on the ideas laid in “Sign of the Times,” delving into inner struggles, seeking understanding and the quest for freedom, Grizfolk is ultimately trapped and feels like a prisoner in this fight to preserve their identity amidst life’s changes. 

As the EP progresses, the concluding track, “Gold,” introduces a contrasting perspective, which is an interesting departure from the previous tracks that are more introspective. “Gold” explores the metaphor of women being similar to gold due to their allure and inherent value. Grizfolk repeatedly mention a woman being “gold” to highlight her fragility as well as weigh what is considered beautiful or worthy. The lyrics depict this precarious relationship, “I’m losing faith and I’m losing sleep / She’s a dream that I just can’t keep.” It captures this bittersweet relationship — both the allure of romance and the challenges that come along with it. “Gold” captures this overall search for humanity and human connection, leaving us wondering what’s next.

Escaping a painful memory isn’t easy, especially when you’re faced with lies and deception. We may seek compromise and understanding, but the quest for freedom when you have nothing else is no easy feat; yet, it becomes second nature. Grizfolk’s EP, Sign of the Times, explores the journey of self-discovery and navigating life while searching for your own destiny when it seems like you’re living in a world filled with elusive illusions.

Keep up with Grizfolk: Instagram // Spotify // X // YouTube // Facebook // Website

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