GORKY’S ZYGOTIC MYNCI – Barafundle (1997)

Review by: Ali Ghoneim
Album assigned by: Eric Pember

Ok, so from what I’ve read about Barafundle, it’s usually advertised as being a twee psych rock record. This holds true for a few songs, but as you really get into the record, GZM comes off more interested in trad folk and twee pop than really Rocking Out. It’s the same sneaky tactic religious rock music uses to get young people to hear about the bible, but GZM’s twee church seems pretty cool, so whatever.
Another genre label I’ve seen thrown at the album from all over the internet (read: Wikipedia), is neo-progressive rock, which does make sense. GZM’s aesthetic might not bear all the characteristics of prog rock, but purely in terms of songwriting, you notice how the band tries to constantly throw in left turns and add complexity to what are essentially pretty acoustic folk tunes.

It does get a bit samey after a while, though. After the tenth song where Mr. Leadsinger sings a really pretty melody with his kind of pretty voice over an orgy of ornate instrumentation, I did get a little fatigued. I’m not positive whether “Diamond Dew” is my favorite song on the album because it really is the best, or whether it’s just because it’s the first song I heard.

And the thing about deliberate complexity, which is a problem in general for prog, is that sometimes you don’t want or need a song to take a left turn. The band can seem a little paranoid, as if they don’t trust the core songs to interest you, so they often won’t let any one section go on for too long before switching it up. Or maybe they fell for the myth that Smart Bands can’t write Simple Songs, because that would be Amateurish, Insignificant and Stupid? Like, I mean, a pretty acoustic song sometimes, like, just needs to be a pretty acoustic song, y’get my feel bro?

Never mind, I just listened to it again and it’s pretty great. I’m an idiot.

Author: tomymostalas


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