23 Oct 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

Raw Collective - Single Review: Good Things (All We Need)
22 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Feel-good grooves are part of Raw Collective’s DNA. The Wellington-based 10-piece have been sowing sunflower seeds of optimism and cheerfulness for many a year now and it seems the well of goodness never dries.
Read More...
Naircol - Album Review: Isolate
16 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Naircol is Tauranga-based synthesiser whizz Matt Hennessey. I like that it is an anagram of clarion because this is quite the impressive calling card.
Read More...
Bartells - EP Review: Let's Go
08 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Sam Bartells has a way with words. In an interview with Darryl Baser from Muzic.
Read More...
Stretch - Album Review: Our Dreams Are Changing
30 Sep 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Anthony Stretch’s debut album Bury All Horses was one of the most poignant, lyrically honest and captivating albums of 2017. It was a 'dark horse', so to speak, forged in loss and loneliness, and at times a sense of anguish as he contemplated the direction of his life beyond the clouds that seemed as if they would never lift.
Read More...
Mini Simmons - Single Review: Silver Cigarette Case
30 Sep 2020 // by Mike Alexander
A defining moment for Mini Simmons occurred almost a year ago to the day when they performed a version of Benee’s Soaked at the 2019 Silver Scroll Awards. The New Zealand charting No 1 single made the cut when the 20 finalists were whittled down to five and, as has become tradition, it was covered by another artist on the night.
Read More...
Social Shun - Album Review: 7/10 of A Fridge
29 Sep 2020 // by Mike Alexander
It’s always eye-opening when you come across an artist for the first time and discover that they already have a body of work that’s never been on your radar. Such is the case with Waikato-based sound explorer and experimentalist Jason Longhurst aka Social Shun, who has released a steady stream of albums – five in all – since The Garden of Sweden in 2014.
Read More...
Ravenhall - Single Review: Wild Hearts
23 Sep 2020 // by Mike Alexander
It’s slightly surprising that Ravenhall have been so exacting of their own standards, dating back to the release of their 2015 debut single Everything To Me, given that vocalist Chris Brebner and guitarist Joe Ravenhall are seasoned musicians, who had already shown they’ve got what it takes. Wild Hearts is a classic, edgy, muscular rock song – that’s about seven singles on the trot now – that’s ripped in all the right places.
Read More...
Arli Liberman - Soundtrack Review: Savage
17 Sep 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Arli Liberman is a natural fit for a movie score. As anyone who has listened to his three solo albums - Arli Liberman, Fata Morgana and Allegra will have noted, the Israel-born guitarist has a flair for visceral, beautifully textured and other-worldly soundscapes.
Read More...
View All Articles By Mike Alexander

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • MOOD
    24kGoldn feat. Iann Dior
  • LEMONADE
    Internet Money And Gunna feat. Don Toliver And NAV
  • HOLY
    Justin Bieber feat. Chance The Rapper
  • SAVAGE LOVE (LAXED - SIREN BEAT)
    Jawsh 685 x Jason DeRulo
  • WAP
    Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
  • DREAMS
    Fleetwood Mac
  • HEAD & HEART
    Joel Corry feat. MNEK
  • WHAT YOU KNOW BOUT LOVE
    Pop Smoke
  • PUT YOUR RECORDS ON
    Ritt Momney
  • IN THE AIR
    L.A.B.
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