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1 review | 2 people love this record: be the 3rd!

Special Occasion - not to be confused with Special Occasion, the pop band briefly active in the mid 1980s - is the English duo of Messrs Guy Gormley and David Gray - not to be confused, I’m guessing, with David “White Ladder” Gray. Their album of cheery, lounging electronica The Word, previously a tape on Jolly Discs, is now an actual jolly LP thanks to the reissues dept. at Low Company.

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The Word by Special Occasion
1 review. Add your own review.
2 people love this record. Be the 3rd!
8/10 Robin Staff review, 05 September 2018

Once nothing but a lousy rectangular cassette, Special Occasion’s ‘The Word’ has made the big time and become a big square LP. Those in the know will have already had a slumber or two to this wonderful chair-sinking additive, but if you don’t, now’s the time: duo Guy Gormley and David Gray (no, not that one) make music of preternatural tranquility, very occasionally breaking character for a lounge banger.

And I also hope you like trumpet, because there’s truckloads of it. “Save” is effectively a big meandering solo with bubbling dub ambient below it; “Duet” picks up the threads again as warping rhythms contradict the solitary horn excursions. They’re two examples of how wilfully bizarre the duo can make their soft and deeply palettable music -- they feel like they can craft it out of anything, be it brass or squeaky electronics that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of those early moog records. I’m talking about “Visions”, on which they thread extremely corny keyboard improvisations through an airy deep house jam.

Some moments of overt pop-making shine through: “The Hours I Wait” is a proper synth-pop jammer with lovely jabs of melody and booming chords, supplemented by the soft vocals of our fearless duo. Finale “The Word” is a longer, more meandering take on this structured songwriting, placing importance on their instrumental affectations and putting in a vocal melody as what feels like an afterthought. It’s a good thing, ‘cos this record is such a damn mood piece: I’m all about the chords and the different instruments they play them on, the tweaks the record makes between soft and squelchy, serene and silly. The barely there and deeply buried ambience of “Window Illusion” is what I keep returning to -- it shows, simply and brilliantly, how good Special Occasion are at producing tunes.



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