London Camden Dingwalls
They’ve arrived in tight, pushed hard against the front of the stage. But, nah, these folk don’t mind. After all, they’re familiar with every freakish lyrical twist and harsh swipe of the violin to come. Also equipped with curious dance steps and swirly hand gestures for the imminent twists and swipes, these are people who don’t so much like Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci as relentlessly love everything from the ground they walk on, to – arguably – the whiffy socks they wore yesterday.
Erk, it’s unequivocally a cult thing, then. Which perhaps explains the degree of unflinching devotion shown tonight to a band whose stature is marred by, well, their own ridiculousness, mainly… No need to dispute the woozy-boozy glow which informs many of their songs, marking them down as Wales’ comparatively healthy answer to The Pogues at times, and like charmingly bright strummers of a more whimsical kind at others. Rather, coming out ahead of a list of other, by comparison minor grievances, there’s the fact that not now, not tomorrow or indeed ever, will other bands follow suit by proclaiming that, effectively, there’s always been a ‘medieval element’ to their music.
They’re unique on that front, and thankfully so. Gorky’s are wont to say in interviews that many bands devote too much time to spuriously searching out ‘new sounds’. Fair dos, though reverting to the trills and tweets of 1634 – as on much of the material tonight from their ‘Barafundle’ album – is perhaps taking your convictions too far. No chance of premillennial tension round here, though perhaps some anxiety over whether Charles I should remain on the throne. Oh come on, even in these days of supposedly unabashed pluralism, it’s safe to surmise that monastic vocals will remain an acquired, not to mention frankly absurd, taste. And it’s certain that a Gorky’s who were more economical with their myriad century-spanning pastoral influences would be preferable.
For starters, it would mean we could savour the pop nous of ‘Miss Trudy’ and the glam slam of new single ‘Sweet Johnny’, safe in the knowledge there’d be no need to grimace at the painfully phoney C&W-isms of ‘Heart Of Kentucky’ or the staggeringly drippy ‘Starmoonsun’ minutes later. So Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci are a band who do many things but mainly bring an altogether extended meaning to Rock Of Ages. To stay in ascendance, however, they’re going to have to trim down and shape up. Or at the very least come forward a couple of centuries.