Pastoral prog from Nottingham-based quintet The Chemistry Experiment. Rather than literally enacting its title, Gongs Played By Voices adheres to the British prog tradition of discussing nature and the seasons with liberal use of fantastical lyrics and surreal storytelling. Actual gongs played by voices would’ve been great too but considering the band’s troubled journey towards the difficult second album it’s certainly a fine effort. Out on CD and vinyl LP from Fortuna POP!.
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Coming to my ears through the headphone wire is a warm swirl of organs and acoustic guitars bringing to mind the smoky whisky-clad folk of Tindersticks. The voice is as low as the human voice gets. This will be inaudible to dogs but luckily us people can get our ears soothed with the musics gentle refrains. These are quiet people, they play everything with a feather-lite touch, they use flutes (‘Rainy Day’) threaten to rock out (‘Leo and Magician) but always restrain themselves. Whilst the dynamics are early Belle and Sebastian, the vocals are pure Chris Rea.
It’s all tastefully done and they remember to add sprightly choruses to go with their downcast atmospherics. Sounds not unlike Manchester’s Last Harbour with heavy nods to Nick ‘Dick’ Cave and of course Tindersticks. Didn't hear much of the prog influences that the press release talks about but having been forced to sit through an entire Gong album earlier today, this can only be a good thing
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- Gongs Played By Voice by The Chemistry Experiment
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