added: 1 Jun 2014
// release date: 2 Nov 2013 // label:
reviewer: Daniel Davidson-Amadi
Gumshen seventh is an EP epitomising the evolution of the band in a whirlwind seven years. They’ve made it their calling card to create a new EP every year and 'Progtronica' is the result of an awful lot of practice, intellect and heavy duty instrumentation.
'Progtronica', like the title suggests, is an amalgama of electronica and progressive rock elements that create intelligent, kaleidoscopic material. This is what it sounds like to think outside of the box with unbridled creativity. Gumshen pride themselves on the freedom of artistic expression and this 6-track EP is their masterpiece.
Utilising the contemporary with the classic, 'Progtronica' appropriates from genres including indie, traditional rock, funk and even dubstep to produce songs that are tidy whilst being marvellously mystifying. Many of the songs on this EP are worthy of radio play and would add a freshness to the rather rigid orthodoxy of the pop charts.
Gumshen owe a debt of gratitude to a plethora of bands who have inspired their work and some awesome new musical technologies for this eclectic EP. Simultaneously invoking the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kraftwerk and Talking Heads and avoiding being too imitative, Gumshen are unlike anything I've personally encountered. No two songs are alike, varying between tempo and concept of order to produce unconventional compositions. Often pitting natural drums next to grungy lead synths and thrashy guitars, 'Progtronica' interweaves acoustic, analogue and digital seamlessly.
The final song, 'Fragile We Are Castles' is a complete throwback to the prog rock of the 70s, announcing the conclusion of the album emphatically. It sounds like an 8-minute long homage to the album's inspirational influences; almost like a ceremonial acknowledgement that is befitting. Thanks, music! If it wasn't for you, there wouldn't be any...well...music.
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