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Gayngs – Relayted May 3, 2010

Posted by gwyoung in Album Reviews, Music.
Tags: ,

Artist: Gayngs

Album: Relayted

Release: Jagjaguwar, 2010

Genre: R&B

RIYD: Broken Social Scene, Gang Gang Dance, The xx

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, right when you’ve grown tired of the direction of today’s musical trends, after the endless barrage of lo-fi electronics and blissed-out synthesizers that has pervaded popular music since last January, Gayngs come along and drop Relayted, a wrecking ball of an album so unique and thoroughly excellent that it shatters your conceptions of what good music should sound like and completely revitalizes your waning interest in seeking out new sounds.

Or at least that’s how it was for me. A few weeks ago I decided to give the new “indie supergroup” featuring Justin Vernon and friends from Bon Iver, P.O.S., Lookbook, the Rosebuds, and Megafaun a close listen and was completely blown away. Relayted is one of those albums that sounds completely different from anything you’ve ever heard but is also comfortingly familiar, gathering your favorite aspects from other bands you love and re-interpreting them into something entirely new. Not to mention that the music itself is remarkably genuine: it sounds as if a bunch of friends decided to get together and write songs that sound good to them, without infusing any pretentions of experimenting for the sake of being experimental or trying to sound like something they’re not.

Though a lot of the influences present in Gayngs’ music would fit comfortably in some sort of jazzy, soulful, R&B/rock fusion category (“The Gaudy Side Of Town”, “Cry”, “The Last Prom On Earth”), Relayted’s tracks seem to defy all genres, incorporating smooth bass guitar reminiscent of the xx (“The Walker”), subtle and intricate vocal and sound layering evocative of Broken Social Scene’s self-titled album (“Faded High”), and abstract piano and electronic effects similar to those found on Gang Gang Dance’s Saint Dymphna (“False Bottom”, “The Beatdown”). The album inhabits each of these sounds with masterful dexterity, moving from disparate influence to disparate influence without at all disrupting the balance and flow between the tracks. Though each one is startlingly different from those that precede it, the extended intros and outros make the album seem impossibly cohesive, as if its 55 minute runtime were one long jam session taking place on a lazy afternoon in one of the members’ basements.

As I’ve hinted at above, one of the most important aspects of Gayngs’ musical identity is the fact that they are a supergroup and they’re not afraid to sound like one. Due to the wide variety of musical ideas, the interplay between numerous vocal presences, and the skillful playing of a multitude of diverse instruments, you can clearly tell how many different minds and philosophies contributed toward the production of this collaborative effort. It makes it seem all the more remarkable that all of these different cooks managed to not only avoid spoiling the pot but turned it into a dish of much greater than each of its ingredients. Relayted is not the brainchild of any one person (though technically producer Ryan Olson is responsible for bringing the group together) but rather is a testament to the synergy capable of being produced through the power of cooperation. As a result, the album consists of excellent music without any ego, a refreshing combination that amounts to the best release of 2010 thus far.



1. Gayngs – Affiliyated « safer in the dark - March 4, 2011

[…] of this blog already know about my soft spot for the soft rock of Gayngs’ debut, Relayted (one of my favorites from last year.) But a lot of you probably don’t know about this remix […]

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