I got this album when it first came out, having heard just one Gorky's song ('Let's Get Together'). And although it's a bit of a grower, it's well worth persevering, cos after a while it really gets to you! The style is varied (more so than on 'How I long to feel that summer in my heart', which I find a bit samey) - ranging from folky, laid-back tunes to more rocky tracks (sometimes in the space of one song). A couple of songs are sung in Welsh, but their tunes make them well worth a listen even if you don't understand the language! The song 'Sweet Johnny' is itself an example of how eclectic this band can be, starting deceptively peacefully, then building up to a crashing chorus. By the time you get to the second verse, the style has completely changed. And then, when you think it's all come to a shuddering halt, the style shifts back to the sweet, romantic feel which the song started with. Then there's 'Theme from Gorky 5 (Russian song)', which is a crazy little cabaret-type number. You can just imagine the Cossack-dancing that should accompany it! It has really odd lyrics too ('From an alaskan river to a pavlova mountain, you can suck on a sunset, you can bask in the lava'....hmm?). Oh, and one of my absolute favourites is 'Softly' - which is just such a beautiful, sad song (not least because I listened to it - out of choice - an awful lot after being dumped!). From the aching, wistful beauty of the intro to the gentle, melodic vocals and bittersweet lyrics, it's just a little gem really! ('You lie there so softly, asleep, kissed by the moonlight, can't keep this moment for long...And I lie there so softly, awake, cursed by the daylight, this place I don't want to go...'). Strangely enough, although I bought this album on the strength of 'Let's Get Together', it's by no means my favourite track. This isn't to say it's not an excellent song, it just has a lot of competition from the others on the album! However, if you liked 'Let's Get Together', or 'Hush the Warmth' (which I think was one of the other singles released from this album), I'm pretty sure you'll like the rest of it. 'Hush the Warmth' is a lovely, uplifting song, and perhaps more representative of the album as a whole. If you like acoustic whimsy with a dose of the bizarre, then I'd strongly advise you to listen to this album!
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In the career of a criminally overlooked band lies Gorky 5. An album it seems, overlooked even by Gorky's fans. This probably due to the fact that it has a quieter, cooler more serious atmosphere than the more popular Barafundle or Spanish Dance Troupe. Although it isn't perhaps as good as barafundle, it does have some truly beautiful moments. 'Lets get together' has one of the most heart breaking beginnings ever and 'dye fi' and album closer 'catrin' are perfect examples of the piano ballads Gorky's do so well. My favourite part however is the coda to 'sweet jonny' which is so sad but so optimistic at the same time. If people can let Kid A grow on them please give Gorky 5 a chance!! Please!!
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Ahh Gorky's a band that deserved much more credit than they got, perhaps this explains while this album feels a little forced. Songs like the bombastic Tidal Wave and Lets Get Together sit uncomfortably with the more gentle tones of say Hush the Warmth and Catrin. It was as if Gorky's wanted to stretch that little further into popular culture but couldn't shake the folk roots that had served them so well on Barafundle. There are some great songs here but it just doesn't quite hold together as an album.
If you are going to start anywhere with the now defunct Gorky's, it has to be their wonderful Barafundle album...