Steve Gunn “Other You”

Matador Records 2021

An impressive collection of hazy intricate songs.

The increasingly impressive Steve Gunn’s latest album is rather gorgeous. It’s a lambent collection of dream-like songs, which waft quite wonderfully into the atmosphere. Graceful piano and rippling guitars swirl within an ambient, pastoral landscape, which can be seen as a continuation of the sounds conjured on ‘The Unseen In Between’, his 2019 album. However, ‘Other You’ is much more textured than its predecessor with Gunn adding a slight psychedelic shimmer to several of the songs and, at times, slight nods to the motorik beats of Krautrock.

The title song opens the album and immediately it transports the listener into Gunn’s limpid world with its intoxicating blend of liquid guitars and ghostly keyboards. It’s a spirit world which is revisited on several of the songs here such as ‘Morning River’ which slowly meanders with a Canterbury rock sort of sound, and ‘Good Wind’ which is raised aloft with a fine whiff of sixties like psychedelic pop helium. There’s a more bucolic feel to ‘The Painter’ which is somewhat akin to the breathy 1980s pop beats of Prefab Sprout while the following ‘Reflection’ moves on a decade to reflect The High Llamas’ albums of the time. It’s a rich seam and Gunn mines it quite brilliantly. ‘Fulton’ flows quite wonderfully over an arrangement which can be considered as a more upbeat Nick Drake moment and it takes off when a fuzz fuelled guitar solo bursts in, giving the song some muscle.

Talking of muscle, ‘Protection’ might not throw punches, but it ducks and dives wonderfully, featuring sleek bass and drums which motor away beneath chunky wah-wah guitar and waves of synthesiser as Gunn deadpans the vocals. Memories of Steve Hillage and Gong flood in here, which is, depending on what side you were on in the punk wars, no bad thing. Digging ever deeper into his innovative trick bag of sounds, ‘Sugar Kiss’ is an instrumental which casts its arrows in several directions. – Alice Coltrane, John Fahey, Grateful Dead – take your pick. The album closes with the sublime Ever Feel That Way, which is as warm and cosseting as a lazy afternoon idyll.

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About Paul Kerr 342 Articles
Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.

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