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.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt gives intriguing performance as unsympathetic war hero
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage