The cover of ‘Slow Gum’ features Fraser A. Gorman not looking entirely unlike a young Bob Dylan. Clad in a black suit, with wild, curly hair, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the similarities with Dylan only run skin deep. Upon listening, however, Gorman’s debut album dispels that idea entirely. He has made an album that not only gives a nod to some of Country and Folk’s greatest musicians, but also delves into other genres, with backing singers giving a Motown vibe, and guitar solos that any rock musician would be proud to have created.
A big feature of Slow Gum are its romantic, dreamlike acoustic songs, such as opener ‘Big Old World’, and stand out track ‘Book of Love’. ‘Book of Love’ opens with the line “I want to go make a family with you”, a romantic enough line to justify the songs name. As if the lyric alone wasn’t sincere enough, Gorman’s drawling vocals only serve to emphasise this point. Sincerity seems to be a running theme throughout ‘Slow Gum’, as in the Verve-esque ‘Broken Hands’, he laments “I ain’t got no soul, ’cause Country music sounds to me like Rock & Roll.” Throughout Slow Gum, this is true, a lot of Gorman’s country music does sound like Rock & Roll. ‘We’re All Alright’ features a minute long guitar solo, and ‘My Old Man’ has a chorus that sounds like Spiritualized if they took a Country turn.
Whereas the vast majority of the album is upbeat with a carefree and Summery vibe, ‘Blossom & Snow’, ends the album on a more sombre, reflective note. Although for some artists, such a quiet contrast to the bulk of the album can leave the listener unsatisfied, but not on ‘Slow Gum’. This is due to how beautifully Gorman’s voice combines with a lone acoustic guitar and harmonica, giving the album a lovely rounded close.
Slow Gum has a distinct sense of nostalgia, making it apparent that Gorman wears his inspiration on his sleeve and in his music. Whereas lesser albums with this idea would be considered rehashed and stale effort, Gorman manages to make this group of songs feel fresh and modern, with fantastic results.
‘Slow Gum’ is out now on Marathon Artists. The full track-listing for the album is as follows…
‘Big Old World’
‘My Old Man’
‘Book of Love’
‘Never Gonna Hold You (Like I Do)’
‘We’re All Alright’
‘Blossom & Snow’