Lose Yourself Here

GUM – The Underdog – Album Review

When one thinks of the origins of the Psych Rock wave that has totally paved this current decade one has to bring about two of its Australian creators that even have some artists exchange. Pond, lead by Nick Allbrook, had as its initial drummer the future leader of Tame Impala, where Allbrook was playing the bass until fully assuming his leading role in Pond. At the same time, another name was common to both bands which evolved into GUM that released today “The Underdog” another piece of this infinite puzzle of spacial music brought to us by this austrALIENS.

After Nick Allbrook and Kevin Parker it would be Jay Watson the third possible leader of this Psych-front, that coming from his hands has a more electronic synth kind of vibe. Can we possibly hear Pond dissociating it Tame Impala? The truth is although they can be very dissimilar its is their resemblances the sound that makes us shiver. Above all, its the fact that GUM is as well similar in the core and different in all its details that makes us have that brain melting feeling one always get with the best of Psych-Rock. However, as one gets all this references from pre-existent trips, Jay’s creative power comes in and a whole electric sonority is punched through the storyline with no announcement and breaks in with a lot of personality.

 

Four years after releasing “Delorean Highway”, a compilation of his pop recordings that were left in the cave since 2011 until release date, which at the time for Jay felt already “kind of old” and for us was just a first revelation. The sonic guitars of Psychedelia dancing happily around the groovy electronic bass line were noticeable and remarkable for a first work. However immediately one year after we had “Glamorous Damage” enriching the previous story with new futuristic sounds that revealed that Jay had an own universe for himself to explore. This cue gave room for an epic album to appear, then again in the short gap of a year: “Flash in the Pan”. At this point we knew we had find the holy trinity of the initial Pshych wave from Australia. Nick (Pond), Kevin (Tame Impala) and Jay (GUM) are three individuals that keep three projects alive while helping each other along the way. Kevin has been mastering Pond’s albums at the same time that Jay hasn’t stopped playing live for Tame Impala nor Pond. Because only Music Gods get along. We wish the “Real” ones would too…

Apart from religions, and how many times I have prayed listening to those 80’s groovy themes from “Flash in the Pan”, let’s get to work and talk about “The Underdog”. With this new album, this time two years gap since the latter, Jay has compacted in one album all his previous ideas in a clarifying and rather catchy way. As one can say that Tame Impala’s last album was definitely the most “mass directed” one, it was as well the one that put them in the level they are nowadays. Same goes for “The Underdog” that with its self-explanatory name, picks up the one of the holy trinity that could be seen as for now the “least known” of the masses and definitely launches Jay towards starlight. “S.I.A” is one of our favorites with an uprising bass line that won’t leave anyone indifferent. The homonymous song with the album is surprising for its Pop side, that is dealt as always in an original way by this alien. The last proof to rest my case would be “Couldn’t see Past My Ego” which is as “singable” as GUM was not ever. Finally, “Rehearsed in a Dream” was kind of a peak inside “The Weather”, last work of Pond, written with the finesse of Jay’s lyricism.

It was within “Blue Marble”‘s videoclip on Youtube that I found a comment that would describe what Jay is doing here. “A Justin Timberlake in shrooms”. If one would have to nominate a “good” name from all that commercial trash that nowadays people call “Pop” it would be Timberlake. And if something Jay is doing, is Great Psych Pop for the masses.

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