Editor's Rating

8

Gulp are on a journey, a state of perpetual transition. The band make mini Kraut-pop epics, informed equally by the sun flares of the Californian desert and the drizzle of pure, sweet Scottish rain and northern light. Debut LP Season Sun was a home-grown delight, a ramshackle, endlessly inventive selection of dreamy psychedelic nuggets to watch the world flash past.

This time round, though, things are different. The birth of Guto & Lindsey’s first child has precipitated the previously Cardiff-based duo’s move to the Scottish East coast, and this turbulence, as welcome as it may be, has signalled a shift in the way the project operates, and the type of music they make. Latest LP All Good Wishes pinches its title from a vintage Scottish postcard, and it’s emblematic of the changes the pair have undergone. “I think all through making this record we were looking at relocating,” Guto explains. “Whereas the first record was more of a road trip this is possibly a bit more focused on home and focused on where we’re from and where we’re looking to go to. It’s partly a farewell to Wales, and hello to Scotland.”

The record was largely built in South Wales over a three-year period that saw the band retreat to their basement for endless sonic incisions and revisions. A broader, wider, perhaps bolder experience than their debut, All Good Wishes is rooted in fantastic pop song writing, in creating three-minute vignettes that express complex ideas in a simple, accessible, endlessly fascinating way. “It usually comes from a simple melody, something Lindsey has come up with,” he explains, “I think if you’ve got a good song underneath things it helps a great deal. At the end of the day we’re big fans of pop music, the three-minute song with a chorus, and it’s just a matter of then exploring how to produce the song in a recording.”

Opening with ‘Search For Your Love’, they waste no time in splashing layers of sound together to create complimentary cosmic vibes that will appeal to audiences across the board. We then move into ‘Claudia’, a vibrant track with a jangling synth melody underpinning the track which cannot fail to captivate. ‘Spend Time Right Here With You’ creates a soundscape of dreamland bliss, with haunting vocal melodies playing against an intriguing guitar riff and paced drum beat. Lead track ‘I Dream of Your Song’ ranks up the tempo a bit more and is a shoegaze laced, psychedelic tinged track channels lazy summer days spent in the sun, and invokes imagery of the surf.

‘Beam’ is a sombre, thoughtful track and title track ‘All Good Wishes’ continues this with ethereal vocals taking the forefront. ‘Morning Velvet Sky’ is like much of the content of Season Sun with a characteristic synth and guitar play leading, it leads beautifully into ‘Following Rain’, a track which rolls a bit of everything that has gone before into itself whilst adding a charming, irresistible sway before blending into ‘Ride’. Penultimately comes ‘Watching Ships, a short, synth orientated track which acts as an interlude before concluding ‘Silver Tides’ takes hold to see the album out.