This new EP from Brazilian Gus Garcia opens with the bittersweet folk-pop of Clocks and Crocodiles which combines a rousing Sondre Lerche-like acoustic-lead instrumentation with a drawled Steve Harley-esque vocal. Much like Garcia’s previous EP Many Hiding Places it’s like staring into a magic eye picture trying to spot his heritage, Garcia, a self-confessed anglophile, moved to London in 2007, whilst his sound is far more retrospective than that, but fortunately not mired in a sense of nostalgia that makes his songs sound like thinly veiled homages. Instead, this opening song is a curiously joyful yet downbeat opener mixing flavours of the past and the present into a charming piece of pop setting the bar high for the rest of this EP.
The hi-tempo Rhythm finds Garcia sounding like Babybird‘s Stephen Jones over Michael Benohr’s lively drum-beat and stammering guitar, it’s the kind of song that probably works better as part of a live set, on record it’s a little flat. Folk refrain Two For One fares better from the off, Garcia cooing close to the mic, now sounding like Elvis Costello. Slowly the track is filled with the full band, it’s a decent slow-burner that builds to a warm, neatly arranged conclusion.
It’s followed by the EP’s title track is a wonderful clamour of instrumentation, crashing and clashing around Garcia’s voice, for the most part he coos; ‘I’ve got nothing up my sleeves!” It’s undoubtedly the highpoint of the EP, giving Garcia the most room to play around and experiment, throwing in some Jon Brion-style flourishes here and there, with an extended instrumental section giving him a palette for a few additional colours. Closing track The Sailor is a sparse and eerie end to the record, wrapped around Jaume Fornos’ piano, it lacks a little resonance coming, as it does, at the end of a short somewhat truncated collection of diverse tunes, perhaps the kind of coda that would lend more poignancy to an LP, but it’s a good indication of the shades that Garcia is able to produce and draws the curtian on this fine EP with a melancholy flourish.
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