26 Sep 2021

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

Gramsci - Album Review: Inheritance

06 Jul 2020 // A review by malexa

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


Year: 2020
Type: Album
Like Stray Voltage
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Year: 2002
Type: Album
Year: 2001
Type: Album

Other Reviews By malexa

DateMonthYear - EP Review: The Exodus Suite
22 May 2021 // by malexa
The metamorphosis of the genesis of Exodus into The Exodus Suite while not quite of Biblical proportions is nevertheless on a grand scale. These five degrees of separation, with accompanying videos (the final installment – which is on its way) might share the same source material but, as always, DateMonthYear founder Trevor  Faville twists and shape-shifts with an informed sense of musical invention.
Album Review: Blood & Wires Volume One
13 May 2021 // by malexa
It’s still very much a brave new world when it comes to releasing music with its ever diminishing returns for physical product and the pecuniary stranglehold the major streaming services have on the industry. That’s why Tauranga-based boutique label Blood & Wires deserves a huge thumbs-up for its innovative and down-to-earth but wildly musically ambitious launch.
Metanoia - Single Review: Sonder
13 May 2021 // by malexa
It’s always handy for a reviewer to have a bit of background information about an artist to get a creative context of where they have come from and where they might be heading. Metanoia is a bit of a mystery in this respect.
Mark de Clive-Lowe - EP Review: Midnight Snacks Vol.1
16 Apr 2021 // by malexa
Mark de Clive-Lowe’s musical palette has always been so refreshing engaging and diverse that each new release is like receiving a care package – you don’t know what’s inside but you know you’ll find comfort in it. The Los Angeles-based Kiwi musician, DJ and night club and record label owner has been particularly busy in the last few years with albums and EPs ranging from the chillingly melodious jazz quartet outing Live At The Blue Whale, the steamingly funky club party Church Sessions with various cohorts and the conceptual Heritage I and II, which celebrated his bi-cultural heritage (he is half-Japanese).
Serpent Dream - EP Review: Nova
11 Apr 2021 // by malexa
Serpent Dream's Nova is the debut release on Blood & Wires. The Tauranga-based boutique label was founded by Scott Brown last year with the express aim of raising the “profile of New Zealand based electronic and experimental artists.
Mecuzine - Single Review: Blue Skies
15 Mar 2021 // by malexa
The slim-line edition of Mecuzine - brothers Joseph and Tony Johns – seems to have gained more than it might have seemingly lost. Blues Skies is the second single released since five became two and it’s another brooding, sonic masterpiece with an but almost tragically self-effacing punch line: “She wanted him to stay/Instead she got me/What an unlucky break”.
Ant Tarrant - Single Review: Candle Lights
09 Mar 2021 // by malexa
Ant Tarrant has served his apprenticeship and it shows. Now back in New Zealand after following his muse to Central America and the US, where he was mentored in the art of song-writing and production, he’s settled in Kare Kare and opened up a music studio.
Naircol - Single Review: Turbo Outrun
04 Feb 2021 // by malexa
In an interview with Naircol, following the release of his debut album Isolate late last year, he put collaborative ventures at the top of his wish list. It seems Santa Claus came calling in the form of Canadian producer Tokyo Rat, the result of which is the dynamic driving anthem Turbo Outrun.
View All Articles By malexa

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
    Ed Sheeran
    Lil Nas X
    Glass Animals
    Ed Sheeran
    Billie Eilish
    Doja Cat
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