28 Jan 2023
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Gramsci - Single/Video Review: Ourselves

18 Nov 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

I first came across Gramsci last year when they released the amazing album Inheritance, which was then followed up with a theatre performance which was stunning by all accounts (I was gutted not to be able to make it). But I am very late to the piece indeed, as Gramsci are the brainchild of Paul McLaney who is so productive that he has lost count of the works he has undertaken to date. These vary from the acoustic finger-style guitar and lush string arrangements of his solo work, the ambient and experimental electronica of The Impending Adorations, prog-rock with Immram, the piano excursions of ‘The Old Traditions’ with Raashi Malik, the Te Reo song settings of Shakespeare and an ever-expanding body of composition for theatre and dance. Then the collaborations can be added to that, where he has worked with the likes of Anika Moa, SJD, Breaks Co-op, Julia Deans, Concord Dawn, Counterstrike and Fly My Pretties. He is always working on the next project before the last one has even been released.

This single is taken from the forthcoming album The Hinterlands, and he has kept together the band which worked on Inheritance, so while Paul provides vocals, guitars, synths, and programming he is joined by Greg Haver (drums), Marika Hodgson (bass) and Jol Mulholland (guitar). It starts in simple 4/4 time, with the snare being hit hard, Marika providing some of that wonderfully warm bass she is so well known for, providing a melody to keep the music together, while at the forefront there is picked staccato guitar. Paul’s vocals are layered on top of this, often holding lengthy notes in direct contrast to the guitars underneath. Halfway through the song and we turn from a number which had felt quite Eighties to one where the underlying music stays the same, but it has taken on a new intensity driven by an over-the-top distorted guitar solo. We have another verse back at the same level as before, and then we get another blast of distortion which takes it from art rock into something with far more presence and dominance. It is almost as if Simple Minds have played on some of the song, with The Edge taking a few leads.

The song is a real builder, with stacks of contrast and different styles contained within which somehow meld together to create something quite special. This is combined with a deep and meaningful video filmed in different locations in Canterbury by Richard Bell (Joy Division, Depeche Mode, U2, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana) which stars Zachary Te Maari doing some rather strange things with a chair in different landscapes, all filmed tastefully in black and white, and the other worldly feel matches well with the music. This is yet another huge success for Paul, and I can’t wait for the 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

The Hinterlands
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Inheritance
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Like Stray Voltage
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Object
Year: 2002
Type: Album
Permanence
Year: 2001
Type: Album

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