4 Aug 2020
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Gramsci - Album Review: Inheritance

06 Jul 2020 // A review by Mike Alexander

Paul McLaney has, metaphorically speaking, found his voice again. After a series of largely conceptual electronic albums as The Impending Adorations, he has rebooted Gramsci, the songwriting alias that has lain dormant since the release of Like Stray Voltage in 2005.

Inheritance also sees the renewal of his love affair with the guitar. He's always been an exceptional acoustic finger picker but, perhaps inspired by his recent collaboration with Jakob's Jeff Boyle and his admiration for Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, the electric guitar is left and centre stage with some riveting solos and lovely fluid but precise riffs that are mined from deep within the gut.

The album sets its identity with the opening title track , a semi orchestral style overture with electronic orchestration that has a panoramic sweep and introduces the first of many epic (in reach) guitar solos. The line-up for Inheritance features Greg Haver on drums, who is also masterminded the impeccable production, and Jol Mulholland.

The over-arching theme - referenced in titles that are deeply embedded in Greek mythology - Tantalus, Atlas, Icarus, The Golden Bough, Achilles' Heel - is mythological archetypes both personal and historic. The way we build our personal and social identities and the story of our lives around thoughts and ideas that don't necessarily have any basis in reality but are more our interpretation of events and circumstances.

The cover artwork powerfully illustrates this idea. It's an image of a painting by British artist Herbert James Draper called The Lament for Icarus, a cautionary tale from the Greek epics about unchecked risk and ambition and the consequences of such actions.

The track that complements it - Icarus - is one of several instrumentals and features an earthy rhythm and some soaring guitar lines that reach for the heavens - much like Icarus, who, to his peril, tried to reach for the sun on wings made of wax.

One of the more intimately revealing tracks Like A Scar bares its soul on the back of nature sounds and an almost wearied rhythmic pace as McLaney opens up about trying to find yourself but losing yourself in external stimuli - in this case alcohol.

It's that kind of insight and honest mental and emotional "inventory taking" that makes him such a compelling artist to listen. The way he weaves the personal with the universal has a transcendental quality to it that allows for deeper insight into the human condition.

The haunting album closer Atlas, does seem to have the weight of the world on its shoulders but finds catharsis in a stunning guitar solo and an eerie wind sounding whoosh and crackle that's a little unnerving but almost apt - paradigm shifts occur after a period of unsettling.

It doesn't seem to matter what guise McLaney uses to express himself musically. the result is always richly rewarding. Inheritance may well become a Kiwi legacy album.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Gramsci

The name Gramsci is taken from an infamous Italian political philosopher.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Gramsci

Releases

Inheritance
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Like Stray Voltage
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Object
Year: 2002
Type: Album
Permanence
Year: 2001
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Mike Alexander

Ben Hazlewood - Album Review: Bloodline
27 Jul 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Ben Hazlewood is a songwriter for those big moments that we all encounter when we fall in and out of love. For all the potential for joy, intimacy, belonging and fulfilment, when things fall apart there’s also the potential for deception, heartbreak, bewilderment and sadness.
Read More...
Infinity - Album Review: Icy Blue Planet
16 Jul 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Infinity suggests the probability of all possibilities and the possibility of all probabilities. It's an apt name for this Hawke's Bay duo - multi instrumentalist Pateriki Hura and drummer Cameron Budge - who have now shown on two albums that their musical sweep is broad and astonishingly expansive for a duo.
Read More...
Compilation Review: Home Alone: Winter 2020
02 Jul 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Wellington boutique label Home Alone has developed an exceptional roster of artists since it announced itself to the world in 2006. And while the creative backbone of the label has always been the triumvirate of Timothy Blackman, who actually launched the label in Dunedin with his debut EP, Lake South and French For Rabbits' Brooke Singer, it has expanded its repertoire and reach with such as internationalists Helena Massey and Shenondoah Davis.
Read More...
Sunny Ray - Album Review: Sentient Compass
16 Jun 2020 // by Mike Alexander
The transformation in Sunny Ray has always seemed inevitable since she made her debut in 2010 with the delightfully visionary EP Mindlessness. Here was a voice that spoke to us of the journey of the soul and the process of its awakening.
Read More...
Ignatia : Rising - Single Review: You Found Me Too
03 Jun 2020 // by Mike Alexander
The retooled Ignatia : Rising continue to surprise with their latest release - a quiet stunner, which is perhaps a reflection of these times when we have all been forced to look deep within ourselves. After three singles that made it almost impossible to pigeon-hole their style or swagger, You Found Me Too is an acoustic ballad "an ode to unconditional love".
Read More...
Levi Patel - Album Review: A Shifting Lightness
19 Mar 2020 // by Mike Alexander
There is a place within all of us where our darkness gives way to the light and our sorrows become our rejoicing. It is elusive but wearies not as we journey through life with all of its disappointments.
Read More...
Jackie Bristow - Single Review: Blue Moon Rising
11 Feb 2020 // by Mike Alexander
For those who have followed the career of Stateside-based, but born and bred in New Zealand, songwriter Jackie Bristow there's an unintentional (as far as I am aware) poignancy about the release of her latest single Blue Moon Rising. It signals a slight wind shift, a change in musical direction, bought about by the musical influences she's been surrounded by since moving from Austin, Texas, to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2017.
Read More...
Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie - Album Review: Roto
20 Jan 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Technology without artifice is a rarity in music nowadays – any 'nerd' with an understanding of the various software programmes available for composing music can create something out of nothing without being compelled by an inner muse. Roto, by Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie, is an exception to such mundaneness.
Read More...
View All Articles By Mike Alexander

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • SAVAGE LOVE (LAXED - SIREN BEAT)
    Jawsh 685 x Jason DeRulo
  • CARDIGAN
    Taylor Swift
  • GO CRAZY
    Chris Brown And Young Thug
  • ROCKSTAR
    DaBaby feat. Roddy Ricch
  • EXILE
    Taylor Swift feat. Bon Iver
  • IN THE AIR
    L.A.B.
  • THE 1
    Taylor Swift
  • ROSES (IMANBEK REMIX)
    SAINt JHN
  • WHAT'S POPPIN'
    Jack Harlow
  • BREAKING ME
    Topic feat. A7S
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem