There’s no doubt that the major quarantining worldwide from COVID-19 has left musicians with nothing but time to sit down and create. Many have taken advantage of the downtime, recording, writing, and even releasing music to help lighten the spirits in a time where it’s desperately needed. In the case of Gray Man Strategy, a British rock duo, the COVID pandemic provided the perfect resource for them to hit the ground running.
Consisting of POM on the guitar and vocals and Simon Hodgkiss on drums and production, Gray Man Strategy formed after years of crossing paths and working together. Their influences come from different genres; with Simon more influenced by rock, and Pom experimenting with jazz fusion, flamenco, and even country. The two diverse brains collaborated together on a few songs late 2019, but the shut-down for COVID brought them the perfect time to work together on their debut album release, Rhesus.
Named after a funny recording story involving a cute cat named Rhesus, this album sets the tone for what is to come from Gray Man Strategy. This eight-song record is diverse, showing how the two have pull from their expansive musical knowledge to create something wholly unique.
The record opens with “Cowboy Heroin” a track that seems to have some Indian music inspired instrumentation combined with a gritty, grunge style vocal making for a really cool listening experience. From there you delve into tracks with impeccable acoustic guitar work within them, “Unforgiven,” “Junkie,” and “Southern Sheriff” are all great examples of some of the amazing playing throughout Rhesus.
Continuing to show their diversity, “County Line” has a southern twang in the guitar work, flexing some of the country knowledge that Pom brings to the table. Rhesus shows that Gray Man Strategy is fully equipped with the knowledge and tools to make big things happen for themselves. This release is incredibly mature and polished for a debut album and I can not wait to see what else lies ahead for this duo.