Gum — The Underdog (April 6, 2018) → Jay Watson je multihráč, působící v Pond a Tame Impala, takže není divu, že zde máme na stole jeho 17. album a čtvrté se sólovým projektem GUM. Jemné halucinogenní zkušenosti vyvěrají i z této hudby. Všechno je elektro. Obraz každého nástroje s živostí tahů. Jay Watson maloval album tak, jako dýchal. S šelmovským zábleskem v oku. V rámci videoklipu Blue Marble na Youtube jsem našel komentář, který jakoby popisoval, co v něm dělá Jay. “Halucinogenní Justin Timberlake”. Pokud by člověk musel jmenovat “dobré” jméno ze všech komerčních odpadků, které dnes lidé nazývají “Pop”, bude to Timberlake. A jestli něco dělá Jay, tak je to Velká Psychedelia~Pop pro masy. S tím já pochopitelně nesouhlasím. Gum je na hony vzdálen od chudáka s iniciály JT. [Halucinogenní houby obsahují psilocybin, psilocin a baeocystin.] Koneckonců — duch Syda Barretta je vložen do písně Rehearsed in a Dream, kde malíř zobrazil vlnící se melodické stužky. Na celém albu se sice objevuje málo bičů a šumivých zvuků, zato basa je zobrazena konkrétně a příjemně. Syntezátory zní jako kovové cinkylinky, které vám téměř způsobí pocit, že žijete na nějaké obrovské vesmírné stanici. Pokud se vám líbilo album od Tame Impala Currents, nebo dokonce i když jste fanouškem umělců jako je LCD Soundsystem nebo Caribou, projevte v The Underdog trochu trpělivosti a pak najdete něco, co si nakonec vychutnáte. As expected, bleary~eyed psychedelic pop numbers are the main ingredient here.
Birth name: Jay Watson
Also known as: GUM
Born: 27 May 1990, Carnarvon, Australia
Origin: Northam, WA, Australia
Genres: Psychedelic rock, alternative rock, neo~psychedelia, dream pop, psychpop, space rock
Occupation(s): Musician, singer, songwriter, multi~instrumentalist
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, drums, bass, synthesizer, piano, organ
Album release: April 6, 2018
Record Label: Spinning Top
01. Introduction 1:53
02. The Underdog 3:10
03. S.I.A 3:47
04. Serotonin 3:57
05. After All (From the Sun) 4:37
06. Rehearsed in a Dream 3:44
07. Couldn’t See Past My Ego 3:00
08. The Blue Marble 4:46
09. Trying My Best 3:36
10. The Fear 5:46
℗ 2018 Spinning Top Records Review
REVIEWER: JAMES BENTLEY, RATING: ****
→ As the drummer of Pond and keyboard player of Tame Impala, Aussie polymath Jay Watson can be considered a veteran of the kind of tie~dye pop that’s melted minds at festivals across the globe. As an outlet for Jay’s personal music works, GUM has historically been a much more low~key affair than these collectives — an intergalactic journey explored largely from the comfort of his own bedroom studio. Returning with his fourth album in 2018, ‘The Underdog’ is a record that sees him continue his quest with joyful aplomb.
→ Elsewhere on the record there are hints of dark, throbbing electronic funk as Watson switches up his play with drum machines and sequenced electronics. Beginning with ’S.I.A.’’s motorik beats and dancing bass lines, the album’s side~odyssey peaks with the schizophrenic, arpeggiated climax of ‘Trying My Best’ and concludes with the six~minute rhythmic thumper ‘The Fear’ at the album’s tail end.
→ While the limited production leaves something to be desired (there’s little here that sounds like it was recorded with full live players), Jay’s knack for pop hooks makes his latest record shine just as much as his previous sun~soaked offerings. → http://diymag.com/
→ When one thinks of the origins of the Psych Rock wave that has totally paved this current decade one has to bring about two of its Australian creators that even have some artists exchange. Pond, lead by Nick Allbrook, had as its initial drummer the future leader of Tame Impala, where Allbrook was playing the bass until fully assuming his leading role in Pond. At the same time, another name was common to both bands which evolved into GUM that released today “The Underdog” another piece of this infinite puzzle of spacial music brought to us by this austrALIENS.
→ After Nick Allbrook and Kevin Parker it would be Jay Watson the third possible leader of this Psych~front, that coming from his hands has a more electronic synth kind of vibe. Can we possibly hear Pond dissociating it Tame Impala? The truth is although they can be very dissimilar its is their resemblances the sound that makes us shiver. Above all, its the fact that GUM is as well similar in the core and different in all its details that makes us have that brain melting feeling one always get with the best of Psych~Rock. However, as one gets all this references from pre~existent trips, Jay’s creative power comes in and a whole electric sonority is punched through the storyline with no announcement and breaks in with a lot of personality.
→ Four years after releasing “Delorean Highway”, a compilation of his pop recordings that were left in the cave since 2011 until release date, which at the time for Jay felt already “kind of old” and for us was just a first revelation. The sonic guitars of Psychedelia dancing happily around the groovy electronic bass line were noticeable and remarkable for a first work. However immediately one year after we had “Glamorous Damage” enriching the previous story with new futuristic sounds that revealed that Jay had an own universe for himself to explore. This cue gave room for an epic album to appear, then again in the short gap of a year: “Flash in the Pan”. At this point we knew we had find the holy trinity of the initial Pshych wave from Australia. Nick (Pond), Kevin (Tame Impala) and Jay (GUM) are three individuals that keep three projects alive while helping each other along the way. Kevin has been mastering Pond’s albums at the same time that Jay hasn’t stopped playing live for Tame Impala nor Pond. Because only Music Gods get along. We wish the “Real” ones would too…
→ Apart from religions, and how many times I have prayed listening to those 80’s groovy themes from “Flash in the Pan”, let’s get to work and talk about “The Underdog”. With this new album, this time two years gap since the latter, Jay has compacted in one album all his previous ideas in a clarifying and rather catchy way. As one can say that Tame Impala’s last album was definitely the most “mass directed” one, it was as well the one that put them in the level they are nowadays. Same goes for “The Underdog” that with its self~explanatory name, picks up the one of the holy trinity that could be seen as for now the “least known” of the masses and definitely launches Jay towards starlight. “S.I.A” is one of our favorites with an uprising bass line that won’t leave anyone indifferent. The homonymous song with the album is surprising for its Pop side, that is dealt as always in an original way by this alien. The last proof to rest my case would be “Couldn’t see Past My Ego” which is as “singable” as GUM was not ever. Finally, “Rehearsed in a Dream” was kind of a peak inside “The Weather”, last work of Pond, written with the finesse of Jay’s lyricism.
→ It was within “Blue Marble”‘s videoclip on Youtube that I found a comment that would describe what Jay is doing here. “A Justin Timberlake in shrooms”. If one would have to nominate a “good” name from all that commercial trash that nowadays people call “Pop” it would be Timberlake. And if something Jay is doing, is Great Psych Pop for the masses. → https://justmusicallyspeaking.com/
Words by Owen Maxwell, April 7, 2018 / Score: 7.5
→ Coming off his time in Tame Impala one would wonder what direction Jay Watson would take his psychedelic music when given full license. Though colleagues like Pond seem to go for a completely whimsical and almost too experimental route, GUM proves to be a nice mix of nostalgic rock and modern ideas. Though it’s not always breaking new ground or sticking the landing how you’d expect, GUM proves clever and intriguing on their latest effort.
→ Engulfing synths and harmonies create a mesmerizing energy on “Introduction” before Watson and co bring in a surprising punch of hooks. As the track continues to bounce in its tremolo energy, the roars of life start the album off in a big and powerful way. “The Underdog” hits listeners with riff after riff, as Watson plays around with familiar melodies in unexpected ways. Despite its immersive sound and a wondrous horn solo, you may find yourself recognizing parts of this track a little too well at times.
→ This isn’t the case however on “S.I.A.” as Watson brings out a warped but hypnotic electronic marvel of a track that invigorates listeners from the outset. Using its main beat and hook as a core, the track explores the reaches of Watson’s experimentation to make the track colourful. “Serotonin” slows things down for a dreamy and at times futuristic Pink Floyd energy. Though it carries a couple undertones of Temples’ bright psych rock, Watson’s unique electronica really sets his compositions apart.
→ The wavy vibraphone mixed with almost cheesy retro synths starts “After All (From The Sun)” on an intriguing note, though its sound can feel like more of a novelty than really evocative at times. Though it starts on a fairly monotonous vocal loop, the punch that carries the guitars in on this track are fun and triumphant. “Rehearsed In A Dream” eventually finds its footing in the beat and creepy crawl it takes through clouds of effects and lounge beats. Like many tracks on the record, it seems to be relying on known musical elements more often than not.
→ “Couldn’t See Past My Ego” is a weird double~sided track that soars in its massive synth dives but feels a little too sparing in its guitar verses which never seem to end. Though these elements are integrated into the later parts of the song with a more natural flow, it’s a little funny to see the title become a selffulfilling prophecy on this song. In the swirling guitar lines and harmonies of “The Blue Marble” Watson creates a cosmic quality that really lets the beat kick things open. Once it hits its stride, the song really has a spacey luster that never fades, even as the song seems to run endlessly in its bass~y stomp.
→ In its mantra~like rush, “Trying My Best” builds with a massive sense of tension that keeps going as if it’s announcing the end of days. Though it seems like he’s hitting an electronic like final moment before a drop however, Watson leaves things a tad anti~climactic as he just lets the song end on what would be a great setup. “The Fear” takes a bouncy and dance-ready rhythm, and charges it with his powerful synth work to create a startling club~ready track on the album. The track’s seemingly endless drive of vocal hooks and powerful drums even injects a little Talking Heads into its final moments. → http://northerntransmissions.com/
Tame Impala: https://www.tameimpala.com/
→ Delorean Highway (2014)
→ Glamorous Damage (2015)
→ Flash in the Pan (2016)
→ The Underdog (2018)