Mike Gale is no stranger to the digital pages of Joyzine, having been featured in single and album reviews, on the Joyzine podcast and, most recently by contributing the track ‘Butterball’ to our 20 Years of Joy: Vol 1 compilation. Thanks for Always Waving is his new album – the twelfth under his own name – and it’s the perfect release for the tail end of a fractured summer.

There’s no basking in the limelight for Gale, a self-proclaimed “prolific, lo-fi recluse” who ruminates on the human condition through his bedroom pop and says “I’m naturally introverted and have never enjoyed being onstage in front of people, so performing live was always my least favourite part of making music. Now I’m solo I feel no pressure to perform live at all, maybe one day but for now I’m happy. Recording by myself at home seemed to open a flood of songs and creativity. I think the lack of any expectations just helped me make music for the pure enjoyment of it.

That lack of pressure allows the multi-instrumentalist to construct a set of wonderfully idiosyncratic tracks that have an open-air freshness that spans sunrise and sunset and you can imagine enjoying these in the warm glow of a campfire. Words like dappled, zephyr and magic hour spring to mind, but these songs are far from being precious or romantic. There is a gentle urgency in Gale’s voice, somewhere between wistful and melancholy, which weaves a fragile humanity throughout the album. Acoustic and electric guitars jangle and strum, and many of the tracks bounce along on some perfect shake, rattle and rolling percussion. Gale says:

I’ve been listening to a lot of Tall Dwarfs music and their use of rhythm and space. I really love those guys and I think ‘Grumble Pie’ owes a lot to them. I found the really cool, driving percussion sample first and built the song up from there. I suppose that, lyrically, it’s about trying to focus on the things you have, rather than don’t have. Seems like something that should be easy to do.

‘Grumble Pie’, along with ‘Summer Be Gone’, are the album’s stand outs, but in amongst the gentle, arms-round-the-shoulder, acoustic brilliance is also ‘I Enjoy My Existence’ which has 4am-back-from-the-party feeling. Equally ‘Michael 6’, is a short, woozy instrumental interlude that hangs like smoke in a projector and could play on a loop to calm even the most savage brain.

If the life of a ‘lo-fi recluse’ brings albums like this into the world then long may it continue. Thanks for Always Waving feels like a visit from an old friend or finding a favourite item of clothing you thought you had lost. It may be recorded at home, but the album evokes beautiful landscapes viewed from hilltops and is replete with a wonderful sense confidence and warmth.

Mike Gale socials: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube | Apple Music | Spotify 

NB: This album happily reminded me of Prefab Sprout’s acoustic version of the album Steve McQueen which is well worth a listen if you haven’t heard it.

Review by Paul F Cook

Keep up to date with all new content on Joyzine via our
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mailing List

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: