The Blue Trees

Pop's finest dilettantes have, it seems, finally come of age. Specifically, it's the Elizabethan Age....

That Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci should finally abandon their pop-hued roots in favour of what amounts, essentially, to an album of medieval folk music is, really, hardly surprising. After all, this is a band whose baroque’n’roll heart has always thrilled to the sweet, trusting beat of the archaic and the quaint. Even at their ostensibly simple best, (the Crayola-coloured rush of ‘Patio Song’, say) the Mynci machine seemed to run more on age-defying mischief than on conventional pop fuel; spirit and blessed belief inevitably overtaking traditional rock etiquette.

Now, with ‘The Blue Trees’ – a largely acoustic mini-album that follows the stripped-down fervour of their recent Mynci 2000 tour – we find the cheeky Myncis have strayed as far from pop’s well-trodden path as four folk-obsessed heads possibly can. For few of ‘The Blue Trees’ eight sumptuous tracks bear any relation to anything recorded over the last, ooh, 300 years. Indeed, from the dusty piano recital

of ‘Wrong Turnings’ to the fiddlesome, gilded thrill of ‘Fresher Than The Sweetness In Water’, it would be easy to dismiss ‘The Blue Trees’ as Gorkys most willfully esoteric venture yet,

were it not for the fact that each and every track is crafted with such exquisite, expert delicacy.

Where previous Gorkys records provided the ideal soundtrack to a seemingly endless summer, here they prove to be a band for all seasons; elemental imagery cradling every spun-gold moment. ‘Foot and Mouth ’68’ transcends its clunky epithet by fluttering like burnished autumn leaves, while the title tune – one of three gorgeous instrumentals – welcomes in winter with a flickering lantern and pocketful of memories. ‘The Blue Trees’ brims with the intangible spirit of the past; sometimes playful, sometimes painful grace yet always, always alive.

Pop’s finest dilettantes have,

it seems, finally come of age. Specifically, it’s the Elizabethan Age, and it’s great.

Sarah Dempster