Prior to his work in The Solutions, Naru released solo albums back in the late 2000s. The two albums he released were a mixture of styles showcasing indie rock, rock, and more mellow tracks. Some of those songs sound like precursors to The Solutions. Grayed Out strips everything back into a much simpler and direct indie rock and folk style EP. It’s a window into a different artist’s perspective.
“Today, I Lived Again” is a simple and light track. Lead by guitar and Naru’s vocals, it also features light percussion and keyboards to present a melody-forward song. It’s comfortable and welcoming. The easygoing tempo along with lowkey volume slips into your ears and welcomes a calmness.
Naru adds more power to “Is It So?” The addition of electric bass gives the track more weight. Naru’s vocals also have a bit more depth, especially in the chorus. He’s still staying in a comfortable range but using some more dynamic vocal movement. “Is It So?” fits the style of Self-esteem and it’s nice to hear a slight call back.
One thing I really enjoy with guitar-lead tracks is how artists play. On “Spring Days,” you really hear how talented Naru is with guitar arrangements. It’s a step back towards “Today, I Lived Again” but offers a different perspective that’s acoustic guitar and his voice.
Grayed Out has a core guitar-focused style and Naru decides whether to move forward with a simple composition or add more instruments. I find both the larger band style and his guitar and vocal enjoyable but slightly favor the more vocals and guitar tracks. “Did You Have A Good Time?” is my favorite song on the EP. It’s kind of exactly the song I want when I want to destress and it works perfectly.
Closing the EP, “I’ll Be Waiting” is a melancholy sub-seven-minute track. It’s also sung in English and could easily be mistaken for a song released in the US. As the final track, it also comes across as the final step in a journey. I’m not sure what prompted Naru to release new solo work, but it’s welcome because his own music has always been enjoyable to hear.
Hopefully, there’s more music coming at some point and people get to hear his own musical vision outside of The Solutions. All of Naru’s music is great and Grayed Out is the perfect place to get started.