Album Review: Gus Gus - Forever

BlackPlastic loved the bass heavy analogue synth's of Gus Gus' last full LP, Attention. Truly, truly loved. 'David' so perfectly encaptured that feeling of waking up and being content with one's lot yet still desperate to rewind the clock to last night... The synth lines on 'Desire' still evoke so much more feeling than entire back catalogues of their contemporary's... 'Call of the Wild' is still glorious and 'Don't Hide What You Feel' still holds more soul than a dozen of your favourite funk or hip hop joints rolled into one. And as for Earth's vocals...

Who knows how something like Attention came out of Iceland... So isolated with a population so small. It perfectly captures the feeling of Reykjavik.

Perhaps ironically Forever has taken a long time by anyone's standards... Attention was released in 2002 so five years have passed since their last album and whilst singles and the odd track have appeared during the interlude Gus Gus' release schedule has been almost as barren as their homeland. Opening with the instrumental 'Degeneration' one can't help but feel perhaps a little disappointed... 'Degeneration' is pure Gus Gus, lovely warm distorted basslines, ice-y atmospherics, synthetic strings... Yet it seems such a waste to open without a hint of Earth's fantastic vocals or something that sounds a little more current.

Thankfully 'You'll Never Change' corrects the former if not the later. When concentrating on the specific sounds there is no faulting 'You'll Never Change', it perfectly demonstrates a band who have mastered their equipment and the final breakdown equals much of the best work on Attention, sadly it just takes a little to long to get to the good stuff. This is a theme that is re-occurs a little too often throughout the whole album. 'Hold You' may be slightly formulaic in the beginning, a little too reminiscent of middle of the road, mainstream 'funky' (yes, BlackPlastic feels unclean) house, but things eventually descend into lush, warm synths and acid lines by the song's close.

Thankfully a lot of the album is more confident. 'Need In Me' is like a soulful take on Booka Shade's genre defining 'Manderine Girl', synths build and, Earth's vocals finally get the room to breath. Title track, 'Forever' has some of the filthiest basslines you'll have heard this year... This is truly the sound of a techno outfit impersonating a rock band in the most intelligent way.

There are a lot of instrumentals (half of what is here) and with a vocalist as competent as Gus Gus' Earth that seems a shame. What's more so much of Forever has had a drip fed release it is impossible not to feel a little underwhelmed. Of the 12 main tracks (there is a bonus disk available) at least six have been previously available for those who've known where to look, which is not to say there's nothing here for the collector... Tracks like 'Moss' are absolutely, pure Gus Gus gold. Sensual synthlines carry a warm vocal performance that marks Forever's finest moment. As such it is hard to complain, yet whilst there is definite room for Forever to grow in BlackPlastic's heart, when compared to the sublime Attention, Forever just doesn't have the power to last the duration.