on 15 September 2003
When I thought of Gus Gus, for some reason I always associated them with the Sasha & Digweed sound of old. The more epic Northern Exposure end of the scale. For this reason, I wrongly shunted them to the back of the pile of 'artists to check', and once again I find myself rueing the decision to not check them out before making my oh so worthy musical judgement. Someone I know had been repeatedly banging on about how wonderful this album and, in particular, the track David was. 'I still have last night in my body....' was repeatedly quoted at me. A few months later, I found myself shuffling through the dance section in HMV, happily picking up bits of Plaid, Global Underground, ra ra ra ... when I stumbled upon Attention. So I thought 'why not, give it a go'. And bloody glad I was too. What I was expecting was the more anthemetic breaksy prog trance of Purple from Northern Exposure 2 (no bad thing though, fine track too). What in fact came out of the speakers was the house sound I was right into at the time. Gritty, dirty beats. No messing house. But what makes the entire album so special is these good solid house foundations are married to wonderful catchy melodies, beautiful vocals! So good that Gus Gus should be the dance act running through the top 10, not some Ultrabeat or XTM guff.
Whack the album on, you get a stripped down funky house intro of Unnecessary. From there we move to the 'pop' track of Attention. David is something that should have hit big, should have been heard everywhere, all the elements are right, grooving beats, catchy riffs and vocal. Great. Well at least it penetrated the underground I suppose (Darren Emerson's Underwater label has had a knack of pairing Gus Gus releases with nice remixes!). Desire comes next, almost an old skool Orbital track by sound. Wonderful synths, and etherial vocals echo around the electro breaks. Attention, Dance You Down and IIE let the house beats take the fore. Going from slow deep mechanical whirrings and repetative shout of ATTENTION on ... Attention, to the banging distorted hardcore bass drum and swirling acid synth of IIE. Call Of The Wild is the standout track of the album for me. Well programmed synths, changing attack and velocity as the track progresses, military style drumming, soothing soulful vocals. You have to hear it basically. Detention is a short little interlude of ambient synths, lovely in its own right. Your Moves Are Mine sets a soft vocal to dischordant beats and bass. The album rounds off with Don't Hide What You Feel, shuffling, staggering house beats eventually lead way to smooth vocals.
Gus Gus count Massive Attack, Bjork and Madonna as fans. Perhaps Gus Gus should have been on production duties instead of Mirwais for American Life, because if you're going to do a gritty electronic house album, you do it like this. Proper Bo.
on 30 December 2003
ok, if your into Bjork, Moloko, Radiohead, Royksopp or any other funky 'experimental' band, then you will love GusGus... they are truely origional with their music. Especially with songs such as "David" and "Call of the Wild". Earth's (the woman singing lead in most of the songs) voice is just amazing!!! And the icelandic accent is just beautiful! :) Such a gorgious album... worth the buy and the listen too!!!!
on 15 October 2002
Although this Icelandic collective's last release, 'Gus Gus vs T-World', was the realisation of ideas which pre-dated the first two albums, this seems to be the marker from which this album has taken its lead. Gone is the delicate and refined electronica of 'Polydistortion' and the stylised arty-pop of 'This is Normal'. Actually, gone are most of the band members which contributed to this sound. Now whittled down to a quartet with a new lead vocalist, Gus Gus have stripped things down to a minimum and gone for a more spartan dance orientated approach. Repetitive beats and lyrics are sculpted into mood pieces rather than songs and this creates are more harder edged sound than before, beautifully represented by 'Dance you Down' and 'Attention'. Vocalist Earth had some mighty shoes to fill after the departure of Hafdis Huld, but this doesn't seem to have proved as daunting a challenge as one would have thought. Her sexy, yet sometimes quite incongruous, vocal style seems the natural progression for the group, bringing such squelchy, ebrasive and somewhat cold tracks such as 'You Moves are Mine' to life, heading for certain club cult status. On first listen it all seemed to be a little monotonous and everything melted into each other. On the next listen, everything started to reveal itself slowly but surely. I am looking forward to getting into every nook and cranny of this album and hoping that there is going to be some great remixing just around the corner as it is crying out for others to interpret, disassemble and represent over and over.
on 28 May 2006
...THIS IS THE FIRST GUS GUS CD I HAVE GOTTEN AND I WILL BE GETTING ALL THE OTHERS...ITS VERY UNIQUE SOUNDING, THE VOCALS ARE BEAUTIFUL, EARTH'S VOICE IS ANGELIC ABOUT THE NASTY HOUSE BEATS...THERE ARE MANY TRAX ON THIS WHICH ARE SUTIABLE FOR THE CLUB BUT YET THERE ARE A FEW MORE AMBIENT TRAX WHICH BLEND IN QUITE NICE...ITS A NON STOP CD EVERY SONG IS GOOD, I CANT STOP LISTENING TO IT...
To be honest, 'Attention' is not really my scene. Repetitive beats, bleeps, electronic squiggles and lyrical repetition over a kind of Techno meets Kraftwerk meets house and Fatboy Slim is way out of my comfort zone. This said, I can appreciate that those who do like that kind of stuff are likely to think this album is pretty cool. Most of the album is danceable and quirky and the opener reminded me initially of Depeche Mode (which is why I decided to take the plunge and buy it) so there is a smidgen of 80's retro about the sound as well.
'Call Of The Wild' is more mellow and has a calming effect but for me the more clubby tracks like 'Attention', 'Detention' and 'Dance You Down' are just too relentlessly repetitive for me and do my head in. Still, like I said, if you like this kind of music I reckon you will be well chuffed with this.