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Reviews

Gulp
Season Sun Mof Gimmers , July 21st, 2014 07:56

What with Super Furry Animals being one of the most brilliantly consistent bands on the planet, every solo release is met with unfair anticipation and a smidge of dread. Since their debut, Fuzzy Logic, there's been a collective will for them to not fuck it up and, so far, they've pretty much managed it.

There's been solo records and collaborative projects from just about every SFA member, with Gruff Rhys approaching bona fide national treasure status through his latest American Interior LP and the Neon Neon tagteam, while others have appeared on soundtracks, remixes and output of The Peth.

Super Furry devotees will have no doubt seen Guto Pryce's new band, Gulp, playing great intimate shows, and now, there's a debut album – Season Sun – to get excited about. The Guardian have already dubbed Gulp as "The Wicker Man getting fresh with Nancy Sinatra," which is a lazy way of saying that there's an acid-psych element to proceedings and a woman involved (Lindsey Leven on vocal duties). However, more accurately, Gulp have created the kind of occult synth psychedelia that has been so loved by fans of Broadcast, Stereolab, Annette Peacock, and the sorely underrated Soundcarriers.

Admittedly, there is a pastoral, summery quality to Season Sun, but you can't say that they've achieved their aim of making something that's just "happy". The fact is, there's an unease in the DNA of the music, which is what makes Season Sun such an appealing record. The music may be innocent, there's something looming behind it.

As with all good modern psychedelic records, there's a good dollop of battered old analogue synths and woozy guitars, which give the impression of someone playing a gig just before a nuclear power plant blows up near a field full of children. The sun's out, but the air is thick with innocence and threat. 'Play' and 'Game Love' recall the slept-on Shortwave Set and The United States of America, with the synths presiding over fuzzy things while 'Grey Area', 'Everything' and 'Vast Space' provide a more announced queasiness. The pop is strong, but the exposure is uneasy and skewed. Just like SFA albums, they can't help themselves – Gulp aim at something pure but the result is something with an edge.

This album will certainly tick a lot of boxes for Super Furry acolytes, but for those who couldn't take to the SFA brand of avant-pop, Gulp should provide you with a nerdgasm or ten. Library electronics, jangly loftiness and enough in the way of melodies and choruses to soundtrack your summer.

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