Experimental Music Love

July 25, 2008

Gramercy Arms – Gramercy Arms

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 6:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gramercy Arms – Gramercy Arms

Just in time for the sun to finally hit Scotland, Gramercy Arms come racing onto the scene (with the top down of course), with 10 songs of such jangly pop sensibilities you have to look twice at the cover to convince yourself it’s not Teenage Fanclub’s welcome return.

Instead, this west coast sunshine influenced record is brought to us my a bunch of east coast indie misfits, clearly dreaming of lazy days strolling the beaches of L.A whilst huddled in their New York apartments.

And you’d expect the quality of such 3 minute pop songs to be assured given the roster for this supergroup of musicians reads like a guest list for Michael Stipe’s birthday party.

Members of Guided By Voices, Luna, Joan as Police Woman and The Dambuilders provide the mainstays of band and songwriter duties, as the likes of Lloyd Cole, Joan Wasser and various Nada Surf members pop up along the way to offer their own unique talents for a song or two.

Automatic is a welcome burst of energy to commence an album so confident in its quality, it only feels the need to stick around for 30 minutes before leaving you wanting more. Sounding like The Wrens at their most exuberant, it gives the initial kick needed to grab your attention, before the album’s real charm comes through in the group’s more leisurely numbers.

And there are few more leisurely pursuits than listening to the Simon and Garfunkel inspired Looking at the Sun, which boasts, not only hand claps, but the joyous ‘bah bah bahs’ of American comedienne Sarah Silverman.

Lloyd Cole provides the most welcome guest appearance however, as his intricate guitar work, and clear song-writing influence, helps Fakin’ dispel any lethargy that may have set in, with its upbeat, melodic charms reminiscent of The Wrens at their most exuberant.

This sanguine style may have even allowed itself a greater presence, with the latter half of the album feeling like it needs something to boost its dreamy character . Certainly, I Believe becomes a chore to listen to, plodding as it does with uninspired guitar and not quite there vocals.

Nevertheless, Gramercy Arms are that rare thing – a supergroup who actually prove to be just as worthwhile as their separate musical counterparts. Though on paper, such a meeting of New York indie minds could have turned into a horrible mess of styles and personalities, the reality of the situation is a damn fine pop album that keep things simple, and may yet stand the test of time.

7.7/10

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