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Fraser A. Gorman - Slow Gum (Album Review)

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 Written by Laura Johnson

A part-time carpenter with a love of American rock ‘n’ roll, Fraser A. Gorman is a man of many talents. Luckily ‘Slow Gum’, his debut full length, displays one of them throughout: a knack for penning wonderfully understated songs.

Big Old World kicks things off with a dose of beautiful folk to please fans of Ryan Adams, the reverb on Gorman’s vocals adding to the feeling of a lament. “You may want to laugh at him, but he saw the face of heaven grin,” he sings.

On My Old Man, this curly haired wordsmith shows us just how big he’s willing to go. He doesn’t just sing “bigger than Goliath”, he embodies the sentiment. Strings, piano, a choir and a good old guitar melody are fused into a toe-tapping whole.

With Book Of Love, we’re treated to a glimpse of Gorman’s sense of humour. With tongue in cheek, he asks: “Won’t you be my queen? I'll be your favourite dancing machine.” That charm surfaces again on Broken Hands: “Tell me the truth, now you’re shaking like a six year old’s wobbly tooth.”

Shiny Gun, the album’s lead single, is a highlight and shows potential for Gorman to be crowned the new king of the folk singalong. Broken Hands, meanwhile, is simply brilliant. “I got no soul, ‘cos country music sounds to me like rock ‘n’ roll.” Mystic Mile’s intricate melodies add a welcome vintage cool to the record, trailing off like a party winding down at sunrise.

At first listen, some may dismiss ‘Slow Gum’ as a folk record lacking in adventure. But to do so would do it a great injustice. To put it crudely, it’s a grower, not a shower. It’s not always necessary to burst in guns blazing just to be heard, and Gorman proves that as each song further commands attention.  

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