- 11 Jun 19
GTV have been keeping it quiet of late. Since the single ‘Mister Keeper’ in the winter of 2017 we’ve not heard much from these folkstars. Squirrelling themselves away writing and recording seems to be the reason here, as we are now graced with a new record. Tagged as an album, this is more like something between an an extended and long player - made up of 6 tracks and stretching to just under 25 mins.
That’s not to say anything about its quality, however. The album showcases a lot growth since GTV's last EP, The Path, released three summers ago. The four songs on that record, though each remarkable, seemed altogether too separate. A lack of cohesion was evident through it, moving from the delicate Fleet Foxesesque title track ‘The Path’ to the powerful, almost classic rock belter ‘No More Hard Times’. There seemed a uncertainty regarding where their sound really lay.
Wholly eradicated now, there is a much more comfortable flow to these songs, feeding into each other and marking out signatures that they make their own.
Title track ‘Lemonade Lakes’ is introduced softly with gently picked guitars, and some beautiful Simon and Garfunkel-styled harmonies. It's a dreamy number with psychedelic vibes. A slight timing change for the chorus commands your attention. This is a move they seem comfortable with, employing it on following track ‘Lonestar’, which itself is a wonderfully descriptive, visual piece. You can nearly imagine yourself a travelling nomad – something spiritual and freeing here, almost cowboyesque. It builds slowly until it kicks in to the upbeat and jovial finale - another calling card of these guys - where the fiddle and drumming really shines. It’s like finding yourself at the end of a purposeful journey.
‘Sideways Rectangular Man’ is another reverie. It glitters with lighthearted lyrics. A warm and comforting tune. The use of an organ adds flesh and colour here, with the inflection on the vocals from Richard highlighting the Irish musical heritage.
Up to now, we’ve heard only Richard’s jovial voice, but when Mick takes the lead on ‘The Circle’, you can tell why they share the singing duties. A much huskier, more commanding feel in contrast to Richard’s cheerful tones, but with the same accented tilt - again helping to emphasise and pay homage to their roots. This is a melancholic track, highlighting the struggles of a relationship, and trying to fit two people together in a mould, before throwing it away and starting again with their own rules.
‘Black Butterfly’ is a sad number - unsettling lyrics, but very affecting. Clearly a folk song, it nonetheless has some slight reggae vibe, an element that fits in perfectly and unnoticeably, but definitely adding a certain groove to this one.
Richard is back to close out with ‘Optical Illusion’, where we hear some electric guitars for the first time on this collection, throwing us off the scent of what we thought we knew.
With a much more cohesive sound than before, this is an outstanding, unique and modern example of an Irish folk record. GTV display a comfortable looseness on this warming, quirky album.
You can catch GTV at The Grand Social on Friday June 14 for the double launch with My Tribe Your Tribe.