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Relayted David Stubbs , May 14th, 2010 09:27

One of the great additions of North American music to the culture over the last decade or so, from Godspeed You! Black Emperor through to Broken Social Scene, is the loose and large collective, often male/female, whose looseness and largeness is reflected in the music they make, whose effect in the best sense is make the listener feel overwhelmed and outnumbered. Gayngs were formed by Ryan Olson along with Solid Gold members Zack Coulter and Adam Hurlburt, which as a project rapidly expanded from its Minneapolis base into a "musical super-family" including Megafaun and Ivan Howard of the Rosebuds. Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Mike Noyce, Rhymesayers rapper P.O.S and his fellow Doomtree artist Dessa, psych-rockers Jake Luck and Nick Ryan (Leisure Birds), Channy Moon-Casselle and Katy Morley, jazz saxophonist Michael Lewis (Happy Apple, Andrew Bird), Maggie Morrison and Grant Cutler (Lookbook), and slide guitarist Shön Troth (Solid Gold).

The cover of Godley & Creme's 'Cry' exacerbates the inkling that Gayngs are on a mission to channel the spirit of 10cc, the long-unfashionable, cleverly inflected waterfall MOR of 'I'm Not In Love' et al. But while that's a perfectly laudable venture in these tolerant times, Gayngs expand way beyond homage. Relayted is an epic procession that hoves in and hoves out like a heavenly weatherfront, morphing from one track to another, never falling silent, never touching down, never deviating from around the 69 bpm mark. Its stately opener, the epic, ever-descending 'The Gaudy Side of Town' bleeds into 'The Walker', whose opening lines, "been walking for days/worn out my shoes" speak epic volumes about Relayted as a whole – an album that doesn't just take you on a long, strange trip but whose makers have been on one in order to bring you this.

Then comes 'Cry', an enormous monumentalist moment, its overarching chords building and rising in solemn reproach. Then, with 'False Bottom' another slow shapeshift, with a free jazz outbreak reminiscent of mid-70s Robert Wyatt, saxes baying like a distant wolfpack. 'The Beatdown' is a glorious, multiple vocal frenzy of balladeering, while 'Spanish Platinum' takes the Iberian tendencies of The Durutti Column and inflates them to Gayng's own ends. Then, a sudden, piercing silver lining in the warm clouds of heavy pop melancholy with the nimble, drum machine-driven blue eyed pop-soul of 'Faded High' whose silvery mood alteration persists until we're borne out on a tide of choral falsettos on 'The Last Prom On Earth'. Emerging blinking from Relayted you realise that this ostensible exercise in luxurious MOR by broad coalition has, along the way taken in free jazz, electropop, avant rock and deep soul while never appearing to deflect from its purpose and direction throughout. An album to sail on through the ages.