There’s a popular saying that you’re never too old to rock and roll, as clearly evidenced by the number of megastars in the genre that are still recording and touring as septuagenarians or older. Of course that means you can never be too young either; the Australian grungers Silverchair were just scratching driving age when they put out their debut album Frogstomp in 1995. There’s no shortage of aspiring adolescents out there who could be doing great things in the future, and one of those is the young multi-instrumentalist known as GMH Rocks from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Though he’s still in his early teens at the time of this writing, GMH has already made some waves locally by recurrently featuring on Living Music Wpg’s open mics on Instagram Live and hosting his own podcast, Talk And Rock With GMH. His latest maneuver is releasing a 5-track EP titled Laid-Back Attack, following up his first LP Basement that came out last year.
Listening to this EP, it’s clear that the resurgence of pop-punk in recent years driven by the likes of rapper-turned-rocker Machine Gun Kelly among others is a predominant influence on GMH, and the consistent use of autotune makes it doubly obvious and amplifies the genre bleed between artists like MGK and Post Malone with emo “Soundcloud” rappers like Juice WRLD and Trippie Redd that Gen Z has enthusiastically embraced too. The 1-minute title track exemplifies these elements to the hilt on top of a basic, punky two-chord foundation and sets the tone for “i’m too tired to go to sleep”, a similarly simplistic tune with a power-pop intro and chorus. “roshambo” shows a bit more sophistication; and with a more professional mix and some chorus harmonies it has the potential to be a standout track and boost GMH’s profile even more. “tonight” shows some versatility, though a track like this would be where you would take the autotune off, go raw and slap on that Billie Joe Armstrong delivery to give people something familiar to grab onto before they take in the rest of you. GMH does seem to apply this on the aptly titled “last song”, a minimalistic, sleepy outro nicely tailored to be a closer that lulls listeners into a comfortable, fuzzy slumber… until he decides to plug in and turn the amp all the way up again, that is.
The Laid-Back Attack EP shows some promise and an original sound beginning to take hold, and remember, GMH is only a teenager. On that note, there’s plenty of things that could make it even better next time. One is GMH playing around with different chord progressions and expanding his formula; making his approach less repetitious but not veering too far off his original path. Another would be to cultivate his voice more so he won’t be as reliant on autotune down the road and grow himself vocally as well as instrumentally. He has some decent ability as demonstrated on “last song” and should definitely hone in on it, as autotune may work right now but could be a tired gimmick by the time he reaches adulthood. Last but not least, diving into the intricacies of mixing and recording will be a game-changer for GMH’s future output and make him all the more self-sufficient and impressive; if not there’s no shortage of people in Winnipeg who will more than gladly take on the job. Constructive criticism aside, watch out for GMH. With the connections he already has around the Winnipeg scene and the determination he shows, you’re witnessing an artist in development that could very well be knocking it out of the park tomorrow.