Album review: Gramercy Arms - The Seasons Of Love
PUBLISHED: 19:30 23 July 2014
Considered, refined and varied adult pop from this mongrel NY band.
The revolving New York-based collective, centred around a core of songwriter/producer Dave Derby (Dambuilders/Lloyd Cole), Rainy Orteca, Sean Eden and Kevin March, return with another salvo of adult-oriented, guitar-led pop.
Right from the slightly cheesy, sunny bop of opener Always In Love, a wryly exasperated look at those eternal optimists falling for everyone they meet, The Seasons Of Love is a refreshingly pretension-free riot of colour and genuine emotion.
This 10-track sophomore album proffers laid-back power-pop with crafted, considered arrangements, attacked from various angles.
Guest collaborators this time round include a who’s who of respectable artists, from Joan As Police Woman’s Joan Wasser to Lloyd Cole to Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws and Throwing Muses’ Tanya Donelly.
It’s the lengthy roster of guest talent that pushed this into a five-year project, but it remains taut and focussed throughout.
Wasser and Cole’s Beautiful Disguise is a touching, emotionally-charged duet, while the LP is littered with supercharged, exuberant pop anthems with heart –from the disarming honesty of Winter Light to the irresistible guitar-and-trumpet bounce of Say The Word.
A Springsteen-esque, worldy-wise delivery and knack for a tune is harnessed in The Night Is Your Only Friend, which wraps trumpet and piano around classic Americana guitar, while languid strings soothe on the atmospheric Playing With Fire.
This is joyous, wistful, cool and contemplative by turns.
Rating: 4/5 stars