Thursday, July 10, 2014

Let's Talk About Gulp (Guto Pryce): A Review Of The Debut Album

I've had this album and been grooving on it for nearly 2 months already. I think I blogged about a single from it and now that the release date is near, it's time to share a secret with you: Gulp's Season Sun is one of the most pleasant surprises of the summer.

Guto Pryce, bass-man in Super Furry Animals, has crafted something remarkable here with vocalist Lindsey Leven. Season Sun warms the heart with nods in the direction of bands like Broadcast and Black Box Recorder but it's a wholly unique set of tunes. When I hear Lindsey Leven sing on any cut on this record it's like hearing Sandy Denny sitting in with the cats in Stereolab. And every song that gets a little spacey, or that threatens to spiral off into the ether, is grounded by the solid playing of Pryce and band-mates Gid Goundrey on guitars and Gwion Llewelyn on drums. "Let's Grown" is early Broadcast and "Clean and Serene" is late period Stereolab but the cuts seem like something new and not just homages to those worthy bands. "Vast Space" has Lindsey's vocals ride a sinister riff that recalls Siouxsie and the Banshees or VU organ figures, while "Seasoned Sun" goes in an altogether different direction with its echoes of Jefferson Airplane of all things. "Hot Water" bears (instrumental) traces of SFA's best (more mellow) moments but it's also got a touch of High Llamas about it. "Everything" recalls that glorious 2nd album from Sing-Sing (the post-Lush band from Emma Anderson, don't you know?) and "I Want To Dance" recalls a more playful Ladytron or Long Blondes.

Season Sun deserves a wider audience than just guys like me (inveterate long-time SFA fans).

(I should here admit that my best friend and I cornered Guto at a SFA gig in D.C. back in 1998 or so. For us in that era, it was like chewing the ear off one of the Beatles before a set in 1966. A few months later my friend and I were watching SFA and Clinic raise the roof in Wolverhampton at one of the best gigs I've ever seen...and I've seen The Pixies in 1989 and Nirvana in 1990 and on and on.)

But back to Gulp. This lot are good. Electronic tunes that are full of human warmth, the songs on Season Sun are carefully crafted little masterpieces. Doubt me? Spin some below.

Season Sun is out next week on Sonic Cathedral and you can follow along with the adventures of Guto, Lindsey, and the Gulp gang on their official website.