Gary Daly is one half of the duo (along with Eddie Lundon) behind Liverpool’s magnificent pop purveyors, China Crisis – an eighties phenomenon that continues to play today. Known for their social conscience and highly attuned pop sensibilities, China Crisis were never afraid to experiment or expand their musical horizons, working closely with the late Walter Becker from Steely Dan on their highly acclaimed third album ‘Flaunt the Imperfection’, while their early works (the awkwardly titled ‘Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It’s Fun to Entertain’ and ‘Working with Fire and Steel – Possible Pop Songs Volume Two’) produced early brilliant singles – ‘African and White’, ‘Christian, ‘No More Blue Horizons’ and ‘Working with Fire and Steel’.
‘Gone From Here’ is a delicious extension of this work with all the hallmarks of the gorgeous production, epic melodies and an air of delightful wistfulness that epitomised what I loved about China Crisis.
Opening track ‘Write Your Wrongs’ with its swirling harp-like background (courtesy of Tom Moth from Florence And The Machine) is a reflective peon to the power of words in protest, mixing Daly’s penchant for wrapping a message in the sweetest melody. ‘Time It Takes’ highlights Daly’s fragile emotive voice as well as his ability to dabble in a little soul-based funk in the music.
‘I Work Alone’ again captures an air of satisfying melancholia on the pleasures of creativity:
First single off the album, ‘Carousel of Stars’ reflects the diverse range of of Daly’s songwriting – a wistful narrated tale of reverie – almost jazz-infused with its haunting saxophone.
“Anger and Rage’ is a classic Daly composition: a beautiful heartfelt and melodic song that I can predict will become entrenched in the head and the heart. Title track ‘Gone From Here’ is an anthemic and reflective conclusion to the album.
Of the album, Daly says: Making records is just about everything I’ve ever wanted to do, from messing about with old tape recorders and crappy synths, to working in some of the worlds best recording studios with some amazing artists, it’s a magical experience for sure, and one I continue to love doing.
Daly, in this album, creates a beautiful canvas of pure pop magic that sparkles throughout. It’s not heavy, it’s not dangerous, it doesn’t arrogantly swagger with attitude. It’s sweet melancholia infused with melody, and we all need that sort of beauty in our musical arsenal.
You can preorder the album (out on 31 May 2019) and get a free download of ‘Carousel of Stars’ here.