John Lawrence: Songs From The Precipice – album review
CD / DL
7.5 / 10
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci founder releases his fourth solo album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
As a stranger to the work of Gorky’s (and possibly to my shame), the chance to listen to the latest offering by John Lawrence seemed like something I should do. With nothing to expect and nothing to live up to, Songs From The Precipice was listened to with neutral ears. The ears were quite impressed.
With a folk/rock/jazz feel, the seven track album clocks in at a mere twenty-four minutes. But, through those minutes the album entertains nicely particularly on subsequent listens where Lawrence’s style is able to adhere like the proverbial poo-poo to stick. It’s an album which transcends any real definition, and that can only be a good thing. There are hints of Peter Gabriel, of gypsy music and of Country and it’s all rather nice.
Some vocals seem out-of-tune like album opener Black Hole, and it may appear that Lawrence is just goofing around but when lovely little gems like Hurt Me enter your auditory canal it becomes evident that he’s a pretty talented chap. Hurt Me includes Country/Hillbilly guitars which are simply sumptuous.
It’s not easy listening, don’t be fooled. At times it can be quite difficult. But the key really is to try and get ‘into’ what Lawrence is doing. Not always easy, but the quicker you appreciate it, the quicker the album will become enjoyable. Sometimes prog-rock, sometimes almost shoegaze, it moves from style to style seamlessly and effortlessly.
Title track, The Precipice is a short affair, gliding and floating along until completion with very little effort with Ronda following like a sequel. Again, it’s almost space-age rock but it has a depth that maybe isn’t found too commonly these days. Lawrence’s ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ are as much a part of the songs as his distinct Welsh accent and as Ronda slowly builds louder and louder it ends and makes way for the sublime November.
Ending in all its beauty with the almost instrument-less Pain Of You, the album isn’t a classic but it is a curious and inventive little thing. Well worth a listen and full of surprises.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.