Undeniably quirky, Gaps is a little gem of a record.
Kate Sharp 2007-08-10
Undeniably quirky, Gaps is a little gem of a record. With obtuse song titles, humour and a sprinkling of bittersweet sentiment, it’s a wilfully playful sonic experiment, chock full of charm.
Monster Bobby is Robert Barry; chief songwriter and artistic drive behind indie pop group, The Pipettes. But unlike his polka dot clad side-project, he is not trying to revive the sound of the Phil Spector girl groups of the sixties, but merely using his love of those experimental sound alchemists who worked for the BBC’s Radiophonic workshop as a backdrop for his polished pop ditties.
With whispers of the workshop running through its veins, it could almost pass for a plotted history of the unit. From the use of the infamous BBC-type sound effects, to the mechanical whirr of tape reels pounding like heartbeats, to the strained alien sound of synths; the rich and varied tapestry of soundscapes meld to make a seamless blanket of noise. Just like the unit, Monster Bobby is performing his own master class by mixing together the sound of the everyday, with stories of rail commutes, trouble and madness with otherworldly sounds, and it works incredibly well.
“The Closest Experience To That Of Being With You Is The Experience Of Taking Drugs” is an exuberant example of how joyous music can be. Sounding like a ramped-up Postal Service, the two minute love song is a complete hands-in-the-air, dance about exercise in pure pop perfection.
On the other end of the scale, encapsulating the palpable rage of many rail passengers “Last Stop, All Change” succinctly tears into those annoying folk who like everyone to hear their phone conversations. All the while you get a sneaking suspicion that this is what Morrissey may have sounded like if he still lived in the UK and if The Smiths were perhaps less successful.
Not by any means the most perfect record around - the sonic playfulness can be a little too much at times - but Gaps is bound to be a record treasured for its imperfections as much as anything else.