is an enigma. His music has echoes of the Mystery Jets
and Of Montreal
in sound, but his lyrics remind me more of Frank Turne
, or a male version of Emmy The Great
(although the latter comparison may be due in part to the fact that Iâve listened to First Love
almost non-stop in the last week, and Iâm starting to hear it even in my sleep). However, when you concentrate on really listening, he doesnât really sound like any of these people. Itâs a dilemma. If you put the album on in the background at a friendâs house, I imagine theyâd spend 5 minutes or so trying to work out who it was, and the next 5 trying to determine who he reminded them of, before giving up empty-handed.
Because for all that heâs not really doing anything new, he manages to take a relatively familiar sound and make it entirely his own. Some of his songs are about love, itâs true, but this isnât the self-indulgent teenage public airing of broken hearts. With lyrics such as âCould you just hold me/stop touching/stop movingâ, these songs show a more mature, more real take on relationships. When it comes to naming his tracks, however, Drew shows less restraint, ranging from simplistic normality of âEditedâ, to the poetic; âThe Joy of Yesterday seems so far awayâ to the downright silly; âDunwiddie is a great name for a town, but âDunwiddie is a great name for a townâ is an even better name for a song!â, a slow, moving ballad that evokes (in me, anyway) that special sort of sad-tinged nostalgia, where on the one hand you remember your childhood home with fondness, but on the other you canât kid yourself that you donât know entirely why you left.
Tracks on the album Goodnight Gary
range from just him and his guitar to include pianos, brass, birdsong, crowd sounds, electronica and even a harmonica. The second track on the album, âEditedâ, is characterised by that scratchy, far away sound designed to mimic listening to an old LP.
He has a soft, breathy voice that doesnât challenge, but draws you in, like telling stories around a fire. And with the acoustic, stripped down quality of songs like âThe Joy of Yesterday Seems So Far Awayâ and âFor my Friendsâ, there is more than a little of a campfire feel to the album.
Drew provides his own backing vocals for most tracks, but âMany Are Cold but Few Are Frozenâ, the new single, includes a female vocalist. This is a twee sounding, bitter-sweet song about the trials and tribulations of relationships that ultimately end in failure, including lyrics such as âLove stories arenât always a simple songâ and âFriends and lovers come and go, not just in painâ, which speak on many levels. The song is characterised by a very matter-of-fact singing style, with both vocalists singing in unison rather than harmonising, and simple, bare guitar riffs. A lovely tune, whose simplistic sound is in stark contrast to some of the more complex, layered tracks on the album.
The final track is followed by 2 minutes of silence, and then, with a quote from the Dead Poet's Society; "Are we just playing around out here, or do we mean what we say? All we do is come together and read a bunch of poems to each other, what the hell are we doing?" "Alright, but you still shouldn't have done it Charlie, this could mean trouble. You don't speak for the club", the album ends. The only real option is to go back to the beginning and listen to it again.
What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!