GULP-SEASON SUN.

GULP-SEASON SUN.

It’s just over two years ago that Gulp released their debut single, Game Love. It was released to critical acclaim, and resulted in Gulp supporting  Django Django on a tour of the UK and Ireland. This wasn’t end of the link with Django Django.

No. Gulp were asked to contribute a track to Hi Djinx! Django Django Remixed. Gulp chose Hand Of Man. Not only was the remix well received, but introduced Gulp’s music to a much wider audience. 

So by the time Gulp released their sophomore single Play in July 2013, word was spreading about their music. Many people who heard Play, presumed that Gulp were just another new band. They were wrong.

Gulp were formed by Super Furry Animals’ Guto Pryce. He’s a veteran of the music industry. His career started in 1988, when he was just eighteen. For the next five years, he collaborated with a number of artists and was a member various bands. Then in 1993, Guto cofounded Super Furry Animals in 1993. 

After founding the Super Furry Animals in 1983, they spent three years honing their sound. Then in 1996, Alan McGhee heard the Super Furry Animals live. That night, he signed then to Creation Records. They released their debut album Fuzzy Logic in 1996. Released to widespread critical acclaim, Fuzzy Logic was certified silver. That was just the start of the commercial success and critical acclaim that came the Super Furry Animals’ way.

They released a total of nine albums between 1996s Fuzzy Logic and their final album Dark Days/Light Years. Four of the albums were certified silver and one gold. The Super Furry Animals’ fusion of psychedelic rock and electronica proved popular, not just in the UK, but further afield.Sadly, nothing lasts forever and the Super Furry Animals called time on their career in 2010. Apart from one concert in 2012, the Super Furry Animals haven’t played together since.

After that, Guto formed Gulp, who released their much anticipated debut album Season Sun on Sonic Cathedral on 14th July 2014. Gulp is a collaboration between Guto and his wife, vocalist Lindsey Leven. They were joined by some familiar faces.

When recording of Season Sun got underway, joining Guto and Lindsey are two former member of Super Furry Animals, keyboardist Cian Ciaran and drummer Dafydd Ieuan. They’re joined by Former ex-Race Horses drummer Gwion Llewelyn, percussionist Johnny Gumbo, guitarist Gid Goundrey, drummer and backing vocalist Gwion Llewelyn plus eGareth Bonello on acoustic guitar and cello. This was the band that recorded Season Sun, Gulps’ debut album, which I’ll tell you about.

Game Love which opens Season Sun, was released as Gulps’ debut single back in 2012. Waves of a buzzy bass and motorik beat combine with ethereal beauty of Lindsey Leven’s tender vocal. Shimmering, quivering guitars and a strummed acoustic are added. By now, folk, Krautrock perfect pop, psychedelia and rock have been combined beautifully by Gulp. The result is a sixties inspired track that sets the bar high for the rest of Season Sun.

A fuzzy bass plays its part in Let’s Grow’s futuristic introduction. That’s the first of many curveballs. Crystalline guitars and an urgent rhythm section provide the backdrop for Lyndsey’s vocal. It veers between tender, dreamy and briefly, urgent. That’s when a Hammond organ adds a sixties sound. It also helps drive the arrangement along. When it drops out, Lyndsey’s tender, cooing vocal returns. Later, keyboards add to the psychedelic sound, as musical influences are fused to create a genre-melting track.

Straight away, the combination of drum machines and synths that open Clean and Serene remind me of Kraftwerk. Then Lyndsey’s breathy, dreamy folk-pop vocal enters. It’s a contrast to the rest of the arrangement, which has a robotic, futuristic sound. They’re like yin and yang. Especially when bursts of drama are added. Complimenting Lyndsey’s vocal are lysergic harmonies. They’re the perfection addition as the track heads towards its hypnotic crescendo.

Vast Space is totally different to the previous track. It has a much more rocky sound. From the get-go, the arrangement explodes into life. A powerhouse of a rhythm section and searing guitars drive the arrangement along. Lyndsey’s vocal is tender and fragile. Despite that, it’s not swamped by the thunderous arrangement. It now includes a fuzzy bass, jangling guitar and Doors’ inspired keyboards. All this shows another side to Gulp’s music and musical influences.

Grey Area has a slow, shimmering cinematic sound. This comes courtesy of the guitar. Then a fuzzy, bass enters. It grabs your attention. The baton then passes back to the guitar, which introduces the ethereal beauty of Lyndsey’s vocal. It’s heartfelt and tender, and is complimented by the rest of the arrangement. This includes gently strummed guitars and an understated rhythm section. Sixties inspired psychedelic keyboards quiver and shiver, before Lyndsey’s vocal returns. Her vocal adds to the psychedelic influence. After that, the trippy arrangement meanders along, its dreamy delights drawing you in and proves captivating.

On Seasoned Sun, it’s apparent that Gulp are a band whose musical influences are rooted in the sixties and seventies. Everything from pop, psychedelia, Krautrock and rock have influenced them. Their music also has a cinematic sound. Especially given Lyndsey’s breathy, ethereal vocal and the jangling guitars. This brings to mind David Lynch and Win Wenders soundtracks. Then there’s bursts of a rocky, buzzing, bass, a motorik beat and psychedelic keyboards. The result is Gulp paying homage to the music that inspired them and Season Sun.

Play was Gulp’s sophomore single. It shows another side of Gulp. Rolls of thundering drums and Clash inspired guitars set the scene for Lyndsey’s urgent, punchy vocal. Gone is the breathy, ethereal sound. She’s much more forceful, defiant even. This means she’s in tune with the drama and urgency of the arrangement. Synths take the arrangement in the direction of psychedelia. There’s even a nod to Krautrock. Later, a buzzy bass and dreamy harmonies are added to this dreamy and lysergic musical merry-go-round, that you won’t want to climb off of.

Hot Water sees the tempo drop. A guitar meanders across the arrangement, setting the seen for Lyndsey’s dreamy, delicate vocal. She sounds as if she’s been inspired by Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. Floaty harmonies accompany her all the way. The rest of Gulp play second fiddle to Lyndsey. They take care never to overpower her vocal. Instead they compliment it and prove the perfect accompaniment. That’s why without doubt, Hot Water is the highlight of Seasoned Sun.

Everything features a duet between Lynsey and Guto. Their vocals work well together. That’s partly because Guto drops his vocal, so it doesn’t overpower Lyndsey’s tender, dreamy vocal. Meanwhile, the  rhythm section and crystalline guitars provide a bright, poppy backdrop. Later, it’s all change. They seem to draw inspiration from Kraftwerk as the track becomes a compelling fusion of folk pop and Krautrock.

I Want to Dance closes Season Sun. Here, Gulp seem to have been listening to sixties’ girl group’s like The Shangri-Las. That’s what’s influenced Lyndsey’s needy vocal and the harmonies. Accompanying her vocal is an understated motorik backdrop. It quickly builds. Handclaps, psychedelic synths, fuzzy bass and driving guitars combine.  Waves of synths replace Lyndsey’s vocal as the track takes on a mesmeric, hypnotic sound. Then towards the end, Gulp tease and toy with you, unleashing waves of slow synths. This is very different from what went before and isn’t how you expected what was a glorious slice of poppy music to end. However, by now, you should realise always to expect the unexpected from Gulp.

During a career that’s lasted twenty-six years, Guto Pryce has done just about everything. It’s no exaggeration to call Guto a veteran of the music industry. Music is what he’s dedicated his life to. Since 1988, he’s played in various bands. This includes the hugely successful Super Funny Animals. Guto has collaborated with a variety of artists. There’s also the small matter of four solo albums. Gulp is just Guto’s latest project.

Gulp is a collaboration between Guto and his wife, vocalist Lindsey Leven. They released their debut single Game Love in 2012. Then in 2013 Play became their sophomore single. Then on 14th July 2014, Sonic Cathedral released Season Sun, Gulp’s long awaited debut album. It features some familiar faces. 

This includes two former member of Super Furry Animals, keyboardist Cian Ciaran and drummer Dafydd Ieuan. They were joined by Former ex-Race Horses drummer Gwion Llewelyn on Season Sun. The result is a genre-melting album. 

Everything from dream pop, electronica, folk, Krautrock, pop, psychedelia and rock are combined on Season Sun’s ten tracks. The music is beautiful, breathy, dramatic, dreamy, ethereal, hypnotic, lysergic and mesmeric. It’s also captivating and compelling. Season Sun is all this and much more.  Another word to describe Season Sun is cinematic. 

With some of the track on Season Sun, the music takes on a cinematic sound. That’s no surprise. Guto has written music for television before. So it’s no surprise that when you listen to some of the music on Season Sun, paints pictures in your mind’s eye. A variety of scenarios unfold before you. You’re taken on a magical musical journey, courtesy of Gulp. Much of the success of Season Sun is Lindsey Leven’s vocal. 

Her breathy, ethereal vocals remind me of Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins and sometimes, Nico of the Velvet Underground. Lindsey’s vocals are at the heart of Gulp’s success. It wouldn’t be the same album without her. Lindsey is without doubt, a seriously talented vocalist. She plays her part in Season Sun’s sound and success. So do the rest of Gulp. 

They’re experienced and talented musicians, who have many years of experience behind them. It shines through on Season Sun. So do their musical influences. They shine through on Season Sun. Everything from Can, Cocteau Twins, Kraftwerk, Neu, Nico, Velvet Underground, The Byrds and The Shangri-Las. So do the soundtracks from the films of David Lynch and Wim Wenders. This eclectic fusion of musical influences and genres plays a part in Season Sun, the much anticipated and critically acclaimed debut album from Gulp. It’s been two years in the making. Hopefully, it won’t be another two years before Gulp release the followup to Season Sun.

GULP-SEASON SUN.

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