review archive

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci / The Keys / Linus – ICA 15th July 2003

It’s sweltering. Those of us who were at Camden Falcon back in like, uh, the summer of ’90 get flashbacks to the great ‘bassist of the Fury Things fainting off the stage with heat exhaustion’ incident and shudder. The horror. Slouching down The Mall to the ICA, I wonder if it will be air-conditioned. Mwah ha ha! This is England, of course it bluddy isn’t. What’s more the crush at the bar is five people deep and there’s no draught beer left. Still, milling about we spot Jeremy Hardy (blimey he’s tiny) and eee! Gruff Rhys. Suck on that Kings Of Leon with your boring old Kate Moss and Noelly G. ‘celebrity fans’.

Just catch the last few songs by Linus. Are they still going?? etc. Back in the early ‘90s (those again) Linus always seemed to be playing and are kind of stuck at a certain point in my memory alongside Mambo Taxi and Blood Sausage, part of the splendid riot grrl thing that the evil music press did it’s best to sneer at and wreck. Tonight they play immediately endearing spiky, skippy pop. Singer Tammy stretching a big manic scary grin whilst the guitars churn and twangle. Charmed to reacquaint myself, I’m sure, and it seems we have Linus to thank for this whole evening, they’ve put the line-up together and brought Gorky’s back to play in London for the first time in aages. Hurrah for Linus!

creaking and whimsical
The Keys used to be Murry The Hump, who I never managed to hear or see. My friend Jim says they were ace tho, so let’s give The Keys a listen, eh? They do some countrypop meanderings, creaking and whimsical, a bit of steel guitar would go right lovely in here. Then it all goes a bit Revolver era Beatles – skew-whiff ringing guitarry rockinpop stuff, including sparkling new single ‘Love Your Sons and Daughters’. There’s an epic chiming song of juddering splendour that makes me think of olden tymes Teenage Fanclub (ie. ‘Everything Flows’) and then a gorgeous Beach Boysish set closer complete with jingle bells and a Super Furry-worthy melody. A delightful array of delicious pop comestibles.
Aah Gorky’s, this is Kitten’s eighteenth whirl around the ‘live arena’ with you and your charm is still as fresh as the diamond dew on er, something left out on the lawn over night. Having been raised in a rural wilderness, Kitten knows a thing or two about what happens in the name of ‘psychedelia’ when a band is left to it’s own devices away from the slavering jaws of industry and media. What happens is you create weird and wonderful sounds. Often these are unlistenable, but sometimes you get magical gems of skewed musical genius, like Gorky’s.
the hits just keep on coming Tonight is Gorky’s first London gig since their amazing Shaw Theatre show when album ‘How I Long For That Summer In My Heart’ was played in it’s entirety, in order, with all the musicians in the right place. This time round we get a greatest hits set (Euros: ‘And the hits just keep on coming…hit after hit after hit…after hit.’) with a few newies thrown in.
The chuggy rock of ‘Mow The Lawn’ is a fine addition to Gorky’s ever expanding garden-rock oeuvre, which includes the mighty ‘Patio Song’ (given an airing tonight, greeted by squeals of glee) and the fantastically titled ‘When You Laugh At Your Own Garden In A Blazer’ (C’mon, we’ve all been there).
‘Waking For Winter’ has all the boxes ticked on the Gorky song checklist: rollicking tune, swirly organ sounds, Euros puffing away on a mouth organ, then the soft, sweet-voiced bit followed by all out mayhem at the end. We sway gently to the sweet lilt of ‘Faraway Eyes’ and there’s a comedy moment with a drooping mic before Euros embarks upon the delicate ‘Freckles’, his falsetto cracking into a wheezy cough before the song relaunches into utter fragile loveliness which makes your solar plexus ache. ‘Christina’ is genius, as Euros sings in choirboy tones of the sweet pang of longing bent out of shape, articulating the thoughts of a gun-toting crazed fan, ’What’s the point of living if we can’t be together / I’m coming out to shoot you the sooner the better.’
a wheezy cough
More newstuff includes the eerie and echoey ‘The Film That Changed My Wife’ ‘written by our friend Evan’, and ‘Single To Fairwater’, a bittersweet tale which ends ‘Of all my boyfriends I hate you the most/ To look in your eyes it’s a fucking disgrace’. And just in case you thought it was all pastoral lilting and gently crooned bittersweeties round here, we get hardcore fuzz bass and shrieking on Meirion Wyllt and an extended crashing whiteout of deranged NOISE in the middle of ‘Sweet Johnny’, Megan sawing away frenziedly on her violin.

The set closes with ‘Bwyd Time’-era Welsh drinking song ‘Iechyd Da’ and we all realise we’ve managed to survive the night without suffering the same ignoble fate as blokey from the Fury Things. Everyone livens up a tad for an encore of ‘Poodle Rockin’ before sweating to the finish with the fine finger-lickin’ spacerock of ‘Heart Of Kentucky’ resplendent with tornado-across-the-plains wooshing noises and a demented glitterbeat finish.

Here’s a band that’s never stumbled off down the blind alleys of hype-of-the-moment fashion, carrying on concocting heart-tripping harmonies and gorgeous giddiness, oblivious. It’s highly unlikely Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci will ever be ‘embraced’ (if that’s the right word for turning up with a painfully now hairdo and proceeding to witter on about your new-meeja ‘lifestyle’ whilst ignoring the band) by the dazed & confused Shoreditch crew. We should all give thanks to the gods of garden-rock for that.

Megan sawing away
[top of page]