GUM: Glamorous Damage
Jay Watson is one distinguished dude. Allocating efforts between Tame Impala and POND while also producing solo work as GUM, he has garnered the privilege of working with innovators of the time because he is one himself. For these other more established projects, expectations based on previous work can sometimes hinder the impressions of new material, but Glamorous Damage operates outside that realm. While there is no doubt that Tame Impala’s Currents and POND’s Man, It Feels Like Space Again continued to push the sonic boundaries, Watson’s latest effort plays like a kid in a bouncy castle.
With minimal downtime between tunes, the album bleeds together into a watercolor landscape that explores every hue of the electronic spectrum. “Anesthetized Lesson” comes early on with an addicting danceability and blasts of bright synths which explain its nomination as the lead single. This (quickly) transitions into the title track which serves as an “Eye of the Tiger”-esque interlude into the more spacious and sparkling “Notorious Gold”.
The diversity of the album shines through on “R.Y.K” and Watson’s take on Divinyl’s “Science Fiction”. The former pays homage to the progression of modern music with wailing guitars, lush soundscapes, and a groove that I can’t help but connecting to TV on the Radio’s “Golden Age”. Conversely, the latter pays homage to the early 80’s glam that seems to have inspired much of the album, and while Watson nailed the tune , I can’t say he’s quite as easy on the eyes as a young Chrissy Amphlett.