This album release snuck up on me, and I put it on my radar as soon as I saw when it was dropping. While eager to hear it, I did not have this one as something I had to hear right away as I enjoyed the first EP but wasn’t blown away by it. Then, I gave this album a listen… and another… and another… and well you see where this is going. This album is a gamechanger for future expectation (when we get there), but let’s invest a lot of time into the present as this album gives us 10 songs in less than 30 minutes with not one second wasted. With influences ranging from glitter glam, 70’s blues hard rock, and rock n roll. Gyasi, currently based in Nashville, has followed up his first EP with a classic, timeless feeling album that will likely be on many end of the year best album lists as the number of people who hear it.
The lightning guitar riff by Gyasi that launches ‘Colorful’ tears a hole in the soul and immediately gets the body moving. ‘I’m not normal; I was born colorful’ is not just a lyric; it is a statement of intent from an artist who has invested blood, sweat, and tears into finding out who he is. The guitar solo allows a reprieve before an epic race to the finish of the song and one final chorus. We change gears immediately with the acoustic power pop jangle of ‘Androgyne’ affirming that you can be anything you want to be. In a world of bullies, this can serve as an anthem for those that don’t fall into the society ordained categories and give them a voice. The bluesy ‘Young Love’ takes some Led Zeppelin influences with Gyasi using a higher vocal here to create an awesome hook in the chorus.
One of the early singles follows with ‘Tongue Tied’ shaking and grooving down the back alley with another addictive chorus. The added harmonica showcasing another element we have not heard. This one recalls some Rolling Stones vibes. The bluesy ‘Blackstrap’ brings some horns into the mix and creates an even stranger musical refrain. This song has proven to be an incredibly fast grower as I was not initially blown away by it and now think it is one of many favorites from the album. The chorus comes from early glitter glam and attaches itself to your brain.
‘Wilde Childe’ starts us down the back half of the album with a straight forward beat giving way to an almost robotic refrain in the chorus. This song might actually be the one that grabs me the least, but I am still singing it and not wanting to skip it when I play the album so maybe I call it the runt of a very strong litter. Some acoustic and slide guitar introduce ‘Bring Your Love’ which again recalls a bit of Led Zeppelin especially with that vocal hook in the chorus making me think of something like ‘Ramble On.’
The final trio begins with the upbeat ‘Nightcrawl’ which shimmies and shakes on an addictive beat that with the piano riding on top of it feels part Bowie and part musical number. The guitar cuts through at all the perfect times, and the hook is cut deep into my brain at this point. When I think about my favorite songs of the year, this one will be on the list. It segues into the glam glitter rocker ‘Kiss Kiss’ which features some more awesome piano work as well as some saxophone. The chorus is perfect and would make a perfect partner with something like ‘Almost Faded’ by the Sweet Things. Similar to ‘Nightcrawl,’ this one will likely garner a lot of attention from me for my favorite song of the year. Closing number ‘Little Tramp’ is an acoustic strummed rocker that is part T.Rex and could have fit seamlessly into the soundtrack for ‘Almost Famous.’ The gentle acoustic outro allows for a breath and provides one of two options. You either go right back into the beginning or allow it to transition to Gyasi’s first EP. Either way, you are a winner.
While Gyasi handles most of the instruments here, I do want to recognize the following who also play on the album:
Ammed Solomon and Gaelen Mitchell- drums
Dylan Whitlow- bass on ‘Young Love’
Don Steck-harmonica on ‘Tongue Tied’
Stefan Forbus- sax on ‘Kiss Kiss’
This album exceeded all my expectations and has left trails of glitter all across my favorite albums of the year. I would love to see a Gyasi/ Sweet Things tour happen where everyone can forget what year it might be and just celebrate for an evening. I cannot recommend this one enough if you want some enjoyable rock n roll that has a reverence for the past as well as a passion for the here and now to create 10 timeless songs. 2019 became even more awesome when we got this treasure of an album.
‘Androgyne’ is available Here.
Author: Gerald Stansbury