Monday, 1 July 2013

Gymnast - Wait For Dark With A Heady Heart EP

EP review by

If a picture paints a thousand words then the cover art for this EP would suggest that the music held within is graceful, fluid and elegant. But then if a picture painted a thousand words we'd be out of job. So we'll counter that with another adage: you should never judge a book by its cover. Otherwise 'The White Album' (or 'The Beatles' if you want to be pedantic) wouldn't have been much cop, would it? Gymnast are a duo from Manchester who joined forces last summer to combine their respective skills in synths, guitars, cello, songwriting and more, to see if they couldn't rustle up some decent tunes between the pair of them (although they had both been members of a full band together in the past). It turned out to be a successful match-up and their latest EP just happens to be both graceful and elegant, but let's avoid the conflicting maxims and get stuck into the tunes.

The cello gets an airing instantly on 'Build A Boat', where it's joined by some electronic beats and piano to create what could loosely be described as trip-hop. The song has a chilled sound but an intoxicating one, and this remains the case for all of 'Wait For Dark With A Heady Heart'. Once the songs have been given time to ingrain themselves in your head you realise they're a lot more complex and unconventional than first appeared. The dubby beats and tinkling keys of 'Away the Sun' are given extra feeling thanks to some rich vocals and the song doesn't feel as bare as it actually is; you could almost consider 'Geneva' to be a sister song to 'Away The Sun' as it continues down the same path, allowing a wider range of sounds to fill in any sparse gaps. It's a highlight of the EP and contains the lyrics from which the title is taken. 'Sirens' features a male vocal joining for part of the lead and is filled with piano and the simplest of thudding beats, yet it sounds more lavish than it is, and 'The Flood or the Fire' is darker and more electronic, whipping up an evocative atmosphere. On this EP, Gymnast have managed to take simple and sometimes sparse instrumentation yet created a lush and moody set of songs which should appeal to fans of both styles of music. So I guess you could say they've killed two birds with one stone.

Gymnast's website

Stream or buy the EP

Catch them live:

Sun 7th July - 8pm - Shut the Far Cupboard @ Odd Bar
Thomas St, Manchester - free entry

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