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Go Gusgus Go


Before this group dropped their newer, dancier release, This Is Normal, they debuted with this eclectic 11-song effort several years back and the 9-piece collective managed to garner quite a bit of positive press for it. Not only were they a band doing electronic music on the 4AD label, but they mixed up genres like nobody's business and managed to hit on all cylinders with nearly every song.

After starting off the album with a twinkling, loungey number that runs barely over a minute long, the group moves directly into a one-two combination of some of the best tracks on the release. "Gun" is a rumbling track with a super grimey, midtempo beat and breathy vocals by Daniel August while "Believe" kicks things up a few more notches on the scale with a dancefloor beat and two-part male-female vocals. Unlike the more dancefloor oriented material on their newer releases, the two songs have a level of darkness to it that only add to their sound.

Of course, that mood doesn't continue for long, and soon the group is dropping the lighter (yet still fairly dancy) "Polyesterday" and the mid tempo grooving of "Barry." The end of the album closes out in grand fashion, as the group lets singer Hafdis Huld take lead vocal duties for several tracks. The stripped-down Rhodes organ and minimal drum-track in "Why?" only highlight her rather soulful vocals while "Is Jesus Your Pal?" arrives as one of the most hauntingly beautiful tracks with a female lead singer since the 4AD glory days of This Mortal Coil. Once again, the instrumentation backing the song is rather simple, but it's effective and stark.

The group closes out with a trance track called "Purple" that never seems to find a thumping beat to grasp onto, but still moves rather nicely. Highlighted with breathy, treated vocals by Huld, the track is a nice way to close things down before the hidden track of "Polybackwards." As suggested by the title, it's nothing but a reversed tape of a track slowed down, but it even manages to have an interesting quality to it. Overall, it's a very solid and varied release from the group. Also, if you do a little bit of hunting, you may be able to find the 2CD release, with a bonus disc of remixes for even more great listening.

Rating: 7.5