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SECOND ALBUM FROM AMERICANA INFLUENCED FOUR PIECE
Colm O Hare, 12 Apr 2012
Sepia-toned and presumably aged in oak barrels, The Gandhis’ timeless melodies, organic textures and deft harmonies are clearly inspired by The Band (even the sleeve note shot of the four band members standing in a field, calls to mind the Woodstock legends’ classic ‘brown’ album cover.) They’re not the only influences on display here however and comparisons will inevitably be drawn with other notables in the Americana world, including Fleet Foxes, Mercury Rev and Wilco, among others.
Recorded partly in a remote cottage in Clare during last year’s icy winter and at Dublin’s Phonic studios, the songs on this, their second album, reek of isolation, desolation and despair. The sombre opening track ‘Brother’ boasts a melancholic tune and some lovely harmonies, over a funereal rhythm; the soulful ‘Maybe Maybe’, with chiming guitars and dense choral-like backing vocals, is both elegiac and moving; and things liven up on ‘The Ballad of A Hard Drinking Bad Tempered Man’ – a jaunty toe-tapping shuffle.
Elsewhere, the band’s penchant for experimentalism shines through on ‘There Is A Place’, which opens with a ‘Mr. Sandman’ style accapella vocal workout, before the rhythm section and guitars kick in over soaring Beach Boys harmonies. More traditionally, a gently-plucked banjo and what sounds like a harmonium, make the sparse, pastoral, ‘Head’ another highlight on this compelling collection. It closes the way it began, the faded-in ‘Brothers’ reprising the atmosphere and sentiment of the opening number. After Autumn is a very fine record.