Grove Street: “The hardcore scene is saturated with bands trying to look tough. But that’s not us!”

They’ve dropped ‘Families’ from their name and refined their crossover hardcore sound. Now Grove Street are releasing their long-awaited debut. They’re still having a goof, even if their rising profile means they have started taking themselves “a tiny bit seriously…”

Grove Street: “The hardcore scene is saturated with bands trying to look tough. But that’s not us!”
David McLaughlin

“We don’t work out, we don’t go to the gym, and we’re not into UFC. So, why would we stand around trying to look hard?” Grove Street guitarist Sandy wryly states. “If I get into a fight, I’m gone! My fight or flight is flight-only, man. The hardcore scene is saturated with bands trying to look tough. But that’s not us.”

Welcome to the honest, unfiltered, authentic world of Grove Street. You might recognise the nucleus of this incarnation from when they were known as Grove Street Families. Back then, their none-more-niche gimmick was inspired by the videogame, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but after a trio of EPs (and some, ahem, ‘chats’ with game publishers Rockstar about the vagaries of IP) they decided to ditch the bit and knuckled down to become the band their talents deserved.

“We started out as a joke,” vocalist Sully admits. “We’re just five kids who started a hardcore band to have fun with it. Now we’re doing this and it’s sick.”

That ‘this’ is no laughing matter. Having signed to UNFD earlier this year, the five-piece – completed by bassist Joe Paine, drummer Josh Williams and guitarist Andy Harper – are finally ready to release their debut album, The Path To Righteousness, and kickstart their rise in earnest. It's been a long time coming, with many setbacks along the way, including members leaving and the small matter of a worldwide health crisis getting in the way. Writing started way back in 2018, in fact. But if it’s true that nothing good comes easy, the pain and patience-testing hard times will have been worth it.

“The years of slogging away gave us time to focus,” Sandy argues. “We were still doing a hardcore thing, but we were just vibing. We hadn’t narrowed down the crossover sound we’ve got now. I’m glad we did, rather than rushing music out to keep algorithms happy. We took our time to make sure everything was perfect.”

With that sound blending bits of Beasties, Biohazard and a healthy smattering of modern hardcore and thrash influences, Grove Street 2.0 is a unique and fun proposition. A professional streak runs through it all too, from the songwriting to the performances and the polish of Sandy’s production right through to Sully’s merch designs taking cues from Andrei Bouzikov’s (Municipal Waste) gnarly artwork. They even write about more serious issues now. Lessons Of The Past, for example, includes lyrics lifted directly from placards witnessed at a Black Lives Matter march in 2020.

But don’t worry, goofing around is still priority number one. They’ve just kind of accidentally stumbled onto taking this more seriously. Ish.

“Let’s say a tiny bit seriously,” the guitarist qualifies. “Obviously we have our bucket list, but we never had any expectations. For us it’s just fun. But with the explosion of hardcore in the past few years it’s not such an underground thing anymore. And to me that’s sick. A rising tide raises all ships.”

All aboard the good ship Grove.

The Path To Righteousness is released on September 29 via UNFD

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