Larry Gus perfectly mixes classic pop sensibility with skewed dance charm on easy fifth album
Five albums in six years is pretty good. What’s even more outstanding is that most of them were recorded in his home/bedroom studio. Given the richness of tone and quality of composition this feat alone should be applauded, but Grecian Παναγιώτης Μελίδης, Panagiotis Melidis, AKA Larry Gus isn’t happy to sit on his laurels, as he’s proved on new album I Need New Eyes, released through DFA.
Opening track Black Veil of Fail subverts a classic pop vibe with eclectic production and world music vocal samples. The clockwork sounding backing track not only propels the track but our collective imagination too. Is Gus like Moondog/Thomas Trux who have built their own instruments, or is it just clever production? Whatever the answer it makes you want to proceed with the album. Taking the Personal Away carries on this automated vibe, but the end result is more tribal than mechanical. Ritual drums pound in the background, while acoustic guitars and keyboards are looped in the foreground, while Gus’ vocals sore over a beautiful cacophony. All Graphs Explored has ballad vibe, and with call and response-eque vocals this works well. The music this time sounds like a sample from the exquisite Monkey Island computer game series, but more melancholy and less piratical.
I Need New Eyes is the sound of the best bedroom club you’ve never been to. It oozes with invention and clever ideas. Yes at first the falsetto vocals are a tab grating, but after a few songs, you realise that Gus uses his voice as an instrument, and his higher register complements the music. What isn’t apparent at first is how rammed full of melody the album is. The Sun Describes is a perfect example of this. You can’t move for melody on this track, and the album is better for it. Being signed to DFA could give some musicians a free range to try and redefine the wheel, through dance music, but Gus is happy for it to be left round, but he’s built and amazing vehicle for it to be attached to though.