Pop: Cave to the rhythm
GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI FONT MAYOR CAVES ESPLUGA, SPAIN
Friday 10 September 1999
The resulting record is Spanish Dance Troupe, a succinct and largely acoustic album which finds the cherished Welsh mavericks flirting with trad-country. Lest you imagine Radio Nashville, it might be prudent to point out that "Poodle Rockin'" features an atonal intro that Euros Childs barks, rather than sings.
The setting worked a treat. Had it been Shania Twain, you might have questioned the logic, but for Gorky's, a big cave 100km from Barcelona seemed right. The acoustics were surprisingly good, and fears about the imminent return of a colony of bats proved ill-founded. In the absence of John Lawrence, Megan - sister of Euros - took a more prominent role with her fiddle.
Conventional wisdom holds that Gorky's wouldn't know a soundbite if it chomped them on the backside but, six albums into their career, these notoriously shy beasts are starting to come out of their shells. Childs, still just 24, seems to have been liberated by Lawrence's departure. Normally boxed in behind his keyboards, tonight he shared electric guitar duties with bass-player Richard James and an unnamed session musician. The phallocentric possibilities of his second instrument lent him a much stronger stage presence.
The forthcoming single "Spanish Dance Troupe" was a mid-set highlight. Megan Childs' violin was reminiscent of Scarlet Rivera's playing on Bob Dylan's Desire album and, unusually for Gorky's, the whole thing swung. I wouldn't like to jinx them by suggesting that they're about to follow Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and The Stereophonics into the singles charts, but there's a definite air of new possibilities.
Whether peddling the pastoral psychedelia of 1996's Barafundle or drawing inspiration from Faust, T Rex or The Beach Boys, Gorky's have always tempered their ambition with a rare stamp of authenticity. What they've lacked, perhaps, is lyrical weight and maturity. Tonight, new tunes such as "Over & Out" and "The Humming Song" finally found Euros Childs with the man in his eyes. The latter, built around a piano intro as instantly evocative as "Let It Be", was a love-at-first-listen experience for the small, but enthusiastic crowd.
Any lingering doubts about whether the parting with Lawrence was amicable were quashed when they closed with "Sweet Johnny", an unhinged and exuberant pop song which Euros wrote for his former band-mate during the sessions for Gorky 5. They obviously miss him, but his departure might prove to be a blessing in disguise.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Cheeky' Nando's under fire for apparently coming onto a customer on Twitter
- 2 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 3 Playboy model April Summers speaks out about being a victim of revenge porn
- 4 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 5 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Royal Academy of Arts' Tim Marlow: Bronze statue of lovers embracing at St Pancras station is a lesson in 'how not to do' public art
Britain's Hardest Grafter: Petition set up as Twitter reacts to BBC 'poverty porn' series pitting low-paid workers against each other
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
Big Brother contestant Aaron Frew removed from house for 'inappropriate behaviour' after flashing fellow contestants
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'