When Grayson Gilmour signed to Flying Nun four years ago, back in that brief period when Roger Shepherd took control again of the label he had founded, there was considerable optimism that it might signal a rebirth.
Gilmour was quite unlike most FN artists in that his music was multi-layered, his songcraft highly refined and, if nothing else, he composed on piano and not the strum 'n' jangle guitar that was the label's aural fingerprint. There was something cinematic about his crafted and ambitious pop ... and in 2012 he won best score at the New Zealand Film Awards for his music for the movie The Best Fun You Can Have Dying, and he has more recently done the soundtrack to the feature Shopping.
Since that signing though, Shepherd has moved out and though FN continues an interesting release schedule and has some very good young signings, much of the music is new albums by old familiars, and reissues.
Gilmour still seems a man out on an interesting limb at the Nunnery and this widescreen album of gloriously arranged songs confirm his reputation as someone who won't default to an easy option.
Throughout, the songs feature layered vocals and Gilmour's airy voice is light but convincing. The glorious Tunnel Vision and Lockjaw Language seem to take flight on wings of feathery psychedelia, updrafts of rolling synths and ethereal vocals.
Lichtung is perhaps the most conservative piece with a melody which, in an earlier life, might have graced a Brian Wilson album. Such is the consistency of the sound and material that it feels more like a suite of sublime pop than discrete songs.
Only the surging Minus Times Infinity at the midpoint - with its furious opening section - threatens to break the arc, but then it too resolves into a more benign loveliness.
Infinite Life! is a real multiple-play keeper and each listening reveals yet another dimension.
Sublime pop from young master craftsman
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz