Tracing Faces is a coming-of-age body of work for a band that has been making waves for some time with their single and EP releases over the past few years. For those fans who have been lucky enough to follow the Aussie four piece Great Gable up until now, many must be feeling just a little smug with themselves when they play this debut album to their mates, quietly giving them a nod saying I told you so.
Great Gable's excellent debut album Tracing Faces, out Friday, 7th August, takes you on a journey that is magical and mystical with enough surprises even for the most seasoned traveller to enjoy.
I loved that they kicked off the album with the title track Tracing Faces. They might not like me saying it, but it would fit wonderfully in one of Austin Powers swinging sixties scenes. Yeah baby! Its groovy, lush and has a psychedelic melody that might, if you aren't careful, have you slipping into a hazy trance that will be hard to snap out of.
No worries there though as the band lifts the tempo up quite a few notches with their latest single off the album, called Blur. Perhaps a nod to one of their influences this track really has a grit to it and feels like you are riding in your leathers in an open landscape, with blue sky and nothing but road in front of you to the end of the horizon. It's a cracker of a single and drops another gear at the latter end of the track: I defy anyone not to smile at this and turn up the volume to share with the neighbours. Very clever indeed.
Deep End slows things down again and this is where you can take some time to listen to the four piece as they bring together their individual talents and deliver what I think is one of the best tracks on the album. Lead singer Alex Whitemen's vocals shine, as do the guitar licks of Matt Preen's guitar. But it's the bass of Christopher Bye that really connects the song, along with the delicate sticks of drummer Callum Guy. A dreamy track and quite a surprise.
I was lucky enough to interview Alex and Matt a few weeks ago for Radio 13 and asked them how the recording process went. They had most of the songs in some form or another, with a few other partly-formed ideas, that they brought into the studio. But what they came out with was, in many cases, quite different. This is where you have to give a nod to producers Alex Heriksson and Matt Corby. It's clear from what they said in the interview these guys really added to the creative process and the chemistry just worked. You can hear it on the album as well. Compare the album to their previous work and it's clear they (Alex and Corby) sit nicely as the fifth member of the band. See my interview here.
The 10 track album is littered with a number of their influences and favourite artists including the Arctic Monkeys and The Beatles. It's clear they love Brit Pop. That said it's not their influences but their sound which makes this debut album such a pleasure to listen to.
Tracing Faces has a great beginning, middle and end. It is an album with thoughtfulness and maturity and it demands you play it end-to-end to get the best result.
Even as you get to the finish, tracks like Don't See You and All My Friends still drop and lift the tempo along the way, with Memo closing it off nicely.
A little ditty but aptly titled and a good way to finish this review. Tracing Faces is not an album that you need to be reminded to play. It rewards the listener the more you listen and it should be enough to tide you over until we get the chance to see them play live here in the Shakey Isles. I, for one, will be getting my ticket early.