Daily Archives: June 2, 2010

327. GB3 – “Circlework”

A massively under-rated and under-appreciated act from the Aussie music scene of the 1990s were the Underground Lovers.   

Their output of poppy electronica should have made them as huge as Portishead or at least some of those Madchester fly-by-niters so beloved by MNE. But, alas, it never quite came together for them recognition-wise.

GB3 is/was billed as a side-project (of sorts) from the Undies, but apart from losing the male vocal resources of Vince Giarrusso, there isn’t that much to distinguish this release from their main body of work. 

The GB in the name reflects that this mainly the work of Glenn Bennie.  He is the more electro-oriented of the Undies and it means every second track or so on here is principally a soundscape, typically built around some rising and cascading beep-track (well, that’s what I call them).

Thankfully, he breaks these up with fantastic poppy, guitar-embracing, drum-machine-driven songs that deserve to be heard widely.  Wake Up features the much-missed vocal stylings of fellow ULer Philippa Nhill and is luscious, catchy and wonderful.  Nhill pops up again and again with her ethereal voice so well suited to these genres.

This has been ideal working from home music today.

File under: Good buy you’ll see 

326. Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On”

Much of my TV viewing this year has involving racing through the first 3 series of gritty Baltimore cops and homies drama The Wire.

It weaves a pretty devastating tale of dysfunctional inner-city life. One can only think that Marvin Gaye is shaking his head in disappointment from beyond the grave, and saying ‘why didn’t they listen?’.

Gaye was blessed with one of those voices that could make the phonebook sound soulful, heartwrenching and sexy all at the same time.

He shocked the music world by getting political on this album, bemoaning the plight of the black man and pleading for a stronger, more responsible and responsive attitude from all.

The title track is beautiful, and there are a few other moments of momentous coolness (What’s happening brother, Mercy mercy me, Inner city blues). To have seen this is full swing back in the day would have been a treat:

Unfortunately, too much of this album is god-bothering pap. There are so many ‘praise thees’ on here, you’d think Al Green was at the mic/pulpit.

It was Stevie Wonder who subsequently delivered on the ‘urban plight’ angle of this album on his Innervisions masterpiece. But this certainly set the foundation.

File under: Got it going on, some of the time.