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

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Les Big Byrd: They Worshipped Cats (A Recordings/Southbound)

Les Big Byrd: They Worshipped Cats (A Recordings/Southbound)

On the label founded by Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe, this tripped-out keyboard-and-guitar Swedish duo recorded some of this – with an expanded band – in Newcombe's... > Read more

Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL)

Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL)

In addition to the trouble he inflicted on himself -- notably drugs, shot at by his wife when she discovered his affair with a step-daughter -- it seems life continues to deal hard blows to the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE JAYHAWKS, MARK OLSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Today in the green grass again

THE JAYHAWKS, MARK OLSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Today in the green grass again

Whenever anyone speaks of the No Depression movement – the alt.country and roots music which emerged in the early Nineties -- one band's name is always mentioned: The Jayhawks. Out of... > Read more

Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stathis Kalyviotis: Greekadelia (Riverboat/Southbound)

Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stathis Kalyviotis: Greekadelia (Riverboat/Southbound)

Adding the suffix -adelic to a style (folkadelic) or album title as in this case, isn't always quite as helpful or true as it seems.  This well-established traditional-into-today duo... > Read more