Gramsci: Inheritance (digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Gramsci: Inheritance (digital outlets)

The group Gramsci was a vehicle for Auckland singer-songwriter Paul McLaney. But it had been parked up for more than a decade while he explored other musical outlets, notably his Impending Adorations electronica series, his album of musical settings for some of Shakespeare's soliloquies, the recent Old Traditions album with pianist Raachi Malik, numerous collaborations . . .

And do we mention this album?

But here again comes the heavier, dreamy retro-psychedelic sound of Gramsci: singer McLaney on guitars and synths with guitarist Joel Mulholland and drummer Greg Haver.

His literate lyrics refer to emotional dislocation and need, commitment and failure . . . And regularly – because he has entered a period of sobriety – about dependency: On Tantalus; “you kid yourself it's a reward, it takes the edge off being bored” and Like a Scar; “just one drink 'cos I deserve it to take the fucking edge off”.

But far from being morose or self-lacerating and grim, these self-reflective lyrics are wrapped in musical reference points reaching from the sound of classic David Gilmour/Pink Floyd (the title track, Tantalus, Icarus) to elements of progressive rock (the gripping, cinematic ballad Ancient History), the intellectual end of gloomy post-punk/Joy Division (the brooding Like a Scar), late period Bowie-meets-Sisters of Mercy (Pride and Joy) and more.

And damned if the eight minute-plus, gorgeously melodic Atlas (“a change has come upon me”) right at the end – with a searing guitar solo burning across the centre and ending with what we might call a synth-created “pillow of winds” -- veers dangerously close to having real radio potential in an edit.

In many ways, McLaney hasn't belonged to any school or genre but has walked freely between them as the inspiration took him and he found the musical vehicle to best convey his ideas.

Here he has rediscovered the poetic power of a rock trio, the possibilities of widescreen sonic landscapes and guitar solos, and has pulled in elements of electronica (Hitting My Stride).

It's another impressive and different album from McLaney, brought into real presence by Mulholland and Haver.

Inheritance – the title suggesting the baggage and history we all carry, and our capacity to reinvent ourselves – is an album which sounds like it should probably come with a light show.

And that's another good thing about it.

You can hear this album at Spotify here and previous Gramsci outings at Spotify here. There will be a limited edition (100 copies) run of signed vinyl, see here.

Paul McLaney speaks about his journey to making this album at Elsewhere here

ASB_Instagram___GRAMSCI___OCTOBER16

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

Now that Earth Aid or whatever it was called has retreated safely into the distance we might well ask: What the hell was that all about? "So, you, like, didn't get the point of Al's film... > Read more

Various Artists: Kinshasa One Two (Warp)

Various Artists: Kinshasa One Two (Warp)

Just as Muhammad Ali used to say that boxing was the way of introducing himself to the world, you start to wonder if Blur wasn't just the initial vehicle to allow Damon Albarn to get on and do... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Public Enemy: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

Public Enemy: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

By the late Eighties when this announced itself like a live album with stadium sound from the audience and a siren wail, hip-hop had sprung past the sampling innocence and good times of its early... > Read more

The Flaming Mudcats: Cut Loose (Mudcat Music)

The Flaming Mudcats: Cut Loose (Mudcat Music)

Now 10 years in the blues-rock game, the Flaming Mudcats here celebrate with a third album of mostly originals by singer/harmonica player Craig Bracken. This tight r'n'b quartet –... > Read more