Gavin Friday - Catholic
Ambient, Experimental Regrets have a way of manifesting slowly over the years, you find yourself wondering if you chose as wisely as you should have. As the decades of your life pass you by at an increasingly rapid rate, you think back to times when all that now is was set in motion by the simplest of actions. So is the case of Gavin Friday's first new album in over fifteen years. A man ruminating on where he's been and how it has changed immeasurably in the subtlest of ways. Places, people and personaes are all given the glaring examination of imperious reflection. A world weary soul who has done their part to further avante garde expressionism could find no better incarnation than Mr. Friday. He's been a sneering devil's advocate in the 70s and 80s with his band The Virgin Prunes, he's composed soundtracks sporadically (2000s) and he's even found the time to pursue a somewhat infrequent solo career (1989, 1992 and 1995).

I heard about this new record through the most unassuming medium out there: browsing the inanity which is youtube somehow took me to him and I saw his clip for the lead single of 'catholic', "Able". This couldn't be Gavin, could it? A shaven head in a black and white ode to the tension of inner conflicts and the turbulent effects it can have on your very sanity. Yes, it was and while he'd gotten older, that vein in his forehead still flared from time to time to remind me of what he'd been, where he'd gone and what he'd seen. As for the song itself, the lyric "You lie like a baby, licking your wound. The silence is deadly and our love is doomed" summed it up perfectly. There might be a catchy little beat tugging everything along but that dour, almost derogatory attitude towards human interaction remained intact. There are vocalists, there are frontmen and then there are singers. Those who could not do anything else no matter how hard they tried, Gavin Friday is a singer. He's dodged his calling for some time to immerse himself in other facets of artistic expression since 'Shag Tobacco' but when he puts that microphone to his lips he becomes all manner of creatures, all exclusively of his own design.

These songs are truly an expansive milestone of cinematic tonality and minimalistic splendor, "Land on the Moon" being the most impressive of the bunch with it's gentle acoustic guitars subsumed by Friday's soaring falsettos and huskily intimate whispers of devotion gone to the dogs."It's All Ahead of You" has my favorite line: "Did you know I believed in you when you didn't in me, did you know the best is yet to come. It's all ahead of you... if you want it". This could be his closest foray into a love song yet, I had not expected such an earnest portrayal of optimism from him. Friday's always been somewhat detached from his words but not here, for the first time he opens up and allows his audience to see inside, and it is an exhilarating glimpse. He has a way of weaving his lyrical narratives about the most personal details of his life into portraits which could be anyone's by virtue of his vast linguistical abilities but they belong to him and he graciously permits us to study them on 'catholic' for a little while until it's time to take a deep breath and listen to the final song on his latest: "Lord I'm Coming".

Now, I'm no sunny disposition on breakfast television but this track has got to be one of the heaviest and most somber pieces of music yet composed. The lyrics are of a man on his deathbed recounting his days, the lights flickering out behind his eyes and the years he's spent scoring films is most evident here. This tune rivals Coil's last track on 'The Ape of Naples': "Going Up". Instead of a britcom theme being mangled and contused behind operatic vocalized rendition we get Gavin's voice cracking and then breaking with emotion as the authoritative, silken string arrangements come down around his words like gracefully arcing shrapnel from an explosion high up in the atmosphere. Could it be catharsis let out after these years or is it just that our suave stylized chameleon has retired the masks at long last to reveal his true visage. Regardless of whether nor not you have listened to him as long as I have, 'catholic' as a word has been officially reclaimed by Gavin Friday. Vatican City is ablaze and Bacchus is dancing in St. Peter's square crushing the souls of the faithful under his feet with delirious abandon, here's your cup...
5
Brutal Resonance

Gavin Friday - Catholic

9.0
"Amazing"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2011 by Rubyworks
Regrets have a way of manifesting slowly over the years, you find yourself wondering if you chose as wisely as you should have. As the decades of your life pass you by at an increasingly rapid rate, you think back to times when all that now is was set in motion by the simplest of actions. So is the case of Gavin Friday's first new album in over fifteen years. A man ruminating on where he's been and how it has changed immeasurably in the subtlest of ways. Places, people and personaes are all given the glaring examination of imperious reflection. A world weary soul who has done their part to further avante garde expressionism could find no better incarnation than Mr. Friday. He's been a sneering devil's advocate in the 70s and 80s with his band The Virgin Prunes, he's composed soundtracks sporadically (2000s) and he's even found the time to pursue a somewhat infrequent solo career (1989, 1992 and 1995).

I heard about this new record through the most unassuming medium out there: browsing the inanity which is youtube somehow took me to him and I saw his clip for the lead single of 'catholic', "Able". This couldn't be Gavin, could it? A shaven head in a black and white ode to the tension of inner conflicts and the turbulent effects it can have on your very sanity. Yes, it was and while he'd gotten older, that vein in his forehead still flared from time to time to remind me of what he'd been, where he'd gone and what he'd seen. As for the song itself, the lyric "You lie like a baby, licking your wound. The silence is deadly and our love is doomed" summed it up perfectly. There might be a catchy little beat tugging everything along but that dour, almost derogatory attitude towards human interaction remained intact. There are vocalists, there are frontmen and then there are singers. Those who could not do anything else no matter how hard they tried, Gavin Friday is a singer. He's dodged his calling for some time to immerse himself in other facets of artistic expression since 'Shag Tobacco' but when he puts that microphone to his lips he becomes all manner of creatures, all exclusively of his own design.

These songs are truly an expansive milestone of cinematic tonality and minimalistic splendor, "Land on the Moon" being the most impressive of the bunch with it's gentle acoustic guitars subsumed by Friday's soaring falsettos and huskily intimate whispers of devotion gone to the dogs."It's All Ahead of You" has my favorite line: "Did you know I believed in you when you didn't in me, did you know the best is yet to come. It's all ahead of you... if you want it". This could be his closest foray into a love song yet, I had not expected such an earnest portrayal of optimism from him. Friday's always been somewhat detached from his words but not here, for the first time he opens up and allows his audience to see inside, and it is an exhilarating glimpse. He has a way of weaving his lyrical narratives about the most personal details of his life into portraits which could be anyone's by virtue of his vast linguistical abilities but they belong to him and he graciously permits us to study them on 'catholic' for a little while until it's time to take a deep breath and listen to the final song on his latest: "Lord I'm Coming".

Now, I'm no sunny disposition on breakfast television but this track has got to be one of the heaviest and most somber pieces of music yet composed. The lyrics are of a man on his deathbed recounting his days, the lights flickering out behind his eyes and the years he's spent scoring films is most evident here. This tune rivals Coil's last track on 'The Ape of Naples': "Going Up". Instead of a britcom theme being mangled and contused behind operatic vocalized rendition we get Gavin's voice cracking and then breaking with emotion as the authoritative, silken string arrangements come down around his words like gracefully arcing shrapnel from an explosion high up in the atmosphere. Could it be catharsis let out after these years or is it just that our suave stylized chameleon has retired the masks at long last to reveal his true visage. Regardless of whether nor not you have listened to him as long as I have, 'catholic' as a word has been officially reclaimed by Gavin Friday. Vatican City is ablaze and Bacchus is dancing in St. Peter's square crushing the souls of the faithful under his feet with delirious abandon, here's your cup...
Sep 02 2011

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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