GU:RU’s new EP Zenith’s Privilege beams 4 tracks straight from their headquarters which I imagine are in deep space, or in another dimension altogether. GU:RU are the a 3-piece band with the heart of the Love Unlimited Orchestra, the capes of Rick Wakeman and a glitterball and smoke machine that were probably inherited from Studio 54.
The EP opens with ‘Zenith’, a new prog-dawn where you can imagine technicolour Druids are gathering on a misty morning to use a flute carved from a Unicorn’s horn* to summon the light. I’m not sure when flute fell from grace in popular music but all hail Naomi Perera’s playing on this track as it rises spectacularly above the haunted vocals, synth swells, organ washes and drums splashes.
‘Teach Me’ (which I reviewed last year) is a slow build to a keyboard hook that propels this song along and brings its friends percussion and synth bass to the party. It’s a legal high that could turn any kitchen disco into a city centre nightclub. ‘Disco Biscuit’ is a brooding dystopian dance track and rumour has it that if you look in the mirror and say ‘Disco Biscuit’ three times you will be able to summon George Clinton. And if you have now summoned the master of P-Funk you can have him groove into the small hours to the final track ‘Frankenstein’ which is stomping delight that knows it way round the mod-wheel on a synthesiser and the passages where flute and synth go note for note are joyous.
Listening to Zenith’s Privilege is to be lifted up on platform boots and to experience the aural equivalent of a mind-blowing Planetarium laser show. GU:RU have brought us, in their own words: “Psychedelic Prog, Acid House, Euphoric Dance, Pop, Space Disco: The Cosmic Eclectic”. GU:RU’s vocalist and keyboard warlock, Lee Spreadbury was kind enough to give us his thoughts on each track from Zenith’s Privilege:
One of our proggiest tracks. We wanted to show our eclecticism by producing a track with a pop sensibility. I loved playing a Hammond Organ on this one, it’s the same one as used on Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, and it was just a dream to play. Naomi Perera’s Flute playing really makes this track, she overdubs her flute parts from her studio in Leeds and then sends them over. It was all one take stuff, a dream with work with. I’m really proud of the lyrics, as they’re really the first ones to show true meaning, based around the realisation that something beautiful and amazing will eventually fade: the diminuendo of life.
An Acid House/Space Prog Banger. We dig a lot of music, we take inspirations from all corners, so we thought we’d include a dance floor filler. We’d dipped into that area on the last album ‘Tales from the Ashram’ so it was great to dig further into that vibe. Basically, this is us having it. Stylistically it couldn’t be further away from the other tracks, but sonically it marries well. A bombastic ode to the dance floor, and a reflection on our live performance energy that we cannot wait to return to.
Featuring Mr Vincent Vetyver Spreadbury, aged 5, on Vocals. When I was working on this track, I asked Vinny if he wanted to contribute and he said yes, so I stuck a mic in front of him and said say whatever comes into your head. I’m looking forward to further collaborations. Whenever we listen to it in the car he loves it. I had a lot of fun cutting up and experimenting with Malcolm’s drums, which in itself was a bombastic performance, full of energy and vibe, and very tight too.
This is our rendition of the Edgar Winter classic from 1972. I fell in love with this track having seen a live version on the Old Grey Whistle Test, then we heard it again in France at a festival and lost our minds!! From then on, we were determined to cover it…and record it!! I’m actually very proud of our version, although we probably steered clear of the really tricky parts!! Edgar is a genius, he’s still touring as well!! It would be a dream to support those guys.
Lee Spreadbury – Vocals, Keys (Hammond M102 & Leslie 145, Moog Sub 37, Bentley Upright
Piano, Behringer MS-101, Korg SV-1, Mellotron, Roland Juno-6), Synth Bass.
Naomi Perera – Flute, Vocals.
Malcolm D’Sa – Drums.
Vincent Vetyver Spreadbury – Vocals on ‘Disco Biscuit’
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*No Unicorns were harmed in the writing of this review. The horn was donated by the Unicorn and it was able to grow a new one.
Review by Paul F Cook