Saturday, 23 July 2016
Smith & Mudd - Gorthleck (Claremont 56)
It has to be said that it has been well worth the wait. In those fallow years the duo have honed their craft and the production and song writing has reached a whole new level of maturity. If you know and love Smith and Mudd's previous records then don't worry the vibes have stayed the same, this album will be your new summer soundtrack and DJs at any musically discerning beach bar will be utilising several of the tracks to serenade the sun's decent into the sea over this and many summers to come. Quite how they managed that feat having decamped to humid, chilly old Scotland with a tight team of musical accomplices to record the album is a mystery - perhaps the album is a climatic cry for help?
What has changed with this album is the extra assuredness in the song writing that the duo seem to have developed. R&B, flamenco, kosmiche, folk, ambient, dub, classical & rock are all effortlessly interwoven to soundtrack that difficult transition from the beach towel to the bar stool with a sea view or the sofa to the corner shop for skins, depending on your luck. There really is a new found confidence in their musical expression and a better understanding on how to convey all those moods and moments without the aid of lyrics in this instrumental delight of an album. Where perhaps silence would have previously been filled by effects or slightly cliched synth (wishy) washes now instruments either solo or interlocking are given space to breathe and tell their tale. Not that there isn't a healthy amount of electronic tinkering during the recording just that these days it sounds far more complimentary than compensatory.
So as usual music is much better listened to than read about so get your ears around the album via the player below and see what you think.....