Album: Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

How I Long to Feel that Summer in My Heart, Mantra
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The Independent Culture

Reverting from the largely acoustic form of last year's The Blue Trees to the usual Gorky's mode of elegant whimsy, this may be the Welsh band's most convincing release yet. Much of the credit must go to the engineer and multi-instrumentalist Gorwel Adams, who has blended the layers of piano, organ, harmonium, harpsichord, guitar and violin into sound combinations that change shape imperceptibly as a song progresses, as if the individual parts were smeared together like the pigments in an Auerbach canvas. Bolstered occasionally by string and horn arrangements, the result is a kind of pastoral soft-rock with the mellifluous charm of The Association or The Ozark Mountain Daredevils; a bit wet in places, but not short of interesting ideas – my favourites being the line "They're digging up gravestones to use as crazy paving", and the way that the eponymous "Christina" is forced to rhyme, Mark E Smith-style, with "I saw you in a magazine-ah". Their problem is that they have several vocalists, none of whom can really sing: even when Megan Childs or Richard James takes over from Euros Childs, there's no contrast, just a different shade of fey. This is fine on a track like "Stood On Gold", where James's quiet, almost apologetic presence recalls Elliott Smith, but less successful on "These Winds Are In My Heart", which has to be the world's most diffident sea shanty.

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