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Gong - 'Rejoice! I'm Dead!' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2f/3a/ad/gong-rejoice-im-dead-13-1486671371.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 09, 2017    
 
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Gong remain a vibrant, classy, badly behaved bunch; this album is testament to that.

Algorithms are used by search engines to provide those recommendations we often get that'll give us more of the same. That's okay if we want similar stuff to what we've had before, but not so good if we want to expand our horizons and find new favourites.

Gong are not an institution, they're too sparky for that. Since 1967 they've been producing regularly stirring Space Rock with touches of Psyche, but with a sense of the fantastic that makes them more than that – they might be considered Hawkwind's trickier cousin. They've been an ever present for so many years... until now. Things have happened with Gong, things have changed, sad things. Mainsprings Daevid Allen and Gilli Smith have departed, not the band, this life! It could have led to a hiatus or even a split.

This album is called 'Rejoice, I'm Dead!' It's hard not to see it as a tweak of the nose of The Grim Reaper, particularly when the music inside is so assured, so enjoyable, so Gong. They've been adding horns for some time and this is redolent of their unsettling, jabbing, brass, drinking things along and tickling your ribs... of course, that's where a lot of Knifeworld's wonderful sound comes from!

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'Rejoice!' does this, perhaps just noodling in the middle too long, but always good with a threatening mood, while 'Kaptial' could even be said to have a nasty groove, with the unbridled horns a bit worrying. However, 'Model Village' shows another side, pleasantly twinkly with summery Folk and a wonderful Russian-inflected clarinet. They can, of course, become a little too self-absorbed; 'Visions' is four minutes plus of approaching atmos and 'Through Restless Seas I Come' wastes the first part on self-regard, then finds a brilliantly Funky, seating groove that makes you wish they could had found it earlier.

But this is generally a triumph. Gong have always had a disarming warmth, an effortless style, very apparent in the 'The Unspeakable Stands Revealed', chirping brass, sleazy verse, open, airy moments, guitar jousting with clarinet, building the threat until we can take it no longer.

Gong remain a vibrant, classy, badly behaved bunch; this album is testament to that. Drink it in, a band who refuse to go away because they've still got so much to do, a band who can delight with a loving touch, who defy death because they still sound so alive. Rejoice indeed.

Steve Swift

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