Friday, 4 May 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #161 - Gravenhurst, "The Ghost in Daylight"

The other day, Lw, Slinky Jones, Handsome Nick and I were reading through The Stool Pigeon and I decided to read out the names of the bands in the album review section and asked them to imagine which albums they liked the sound of, disliked the sound of or were most indifferent about purely on the basis of the artist's name. Gravenhurst largely ticked the indifferent box. And as if to fulfill this prophecy retro-actively, I've been aware of his albums on Warp for some time without ever really summoning up the initiative to listen to them. The time has come to turn this situation around.

There's a lot of grey involved from the outset: the cover is monochrome, the title isn't flooded with colour and even Gravenhurst as a name summons up images of wintry shingle lapped by tired, dirty waves.

On "In Miniature", "Unearthed in pairs/Stained with the prayers" gives me an uneasy feeling that this song is about murdered children; perhaps that says more about me than about the song. It's certainly tapping into a lot of loneliness. "Islands" has partly submerged vocals and a stark but moving, simple drum machine and fuzzy organ sound. Not sure what he's singing, but it's about finding eternity in the mundane and repetitive, I'll wager. Another eight minute meditation.

"You won't know when evil comes/Evil looks just like anyone/I blame, I blame, I blame anyone but me."

Bristol seems quite a cheerful place whenever I've been there, but has its share of brooders - Massive Attack being an example that looms especially huge. I've also read Gravenhurst is a big fan of early Nineties Morrissey, which hints at a sizeable misanthropic streak. "You're no friend of mine/Though we're together most of the time" - how much more of a Morrissey lyric do you want? Even his face puts me in mind of sour milk. I'm getting pangs of suspicion under my liver. Are these the miserable observations of a sociopath?

The instrumental "Peacock" (simply recording the acoustic guitar with no dark, swirling and bubbling noises in the background) is arresting, reminding me of Shane Meadows films, in which I'm pretty sure his music has been used before today. "Three Fires" encourages a bit of domestic arson. "The Prize" is about dragging yourself around the music industry and stands out a bit smoother than the rest of the album.

Rating: Melody out of Misanthropy

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