Hey ho I am here, am I not young and fair?

Gulp11Every year I sit back and think about which artist I’ve seen most often over the last 12 months and in how many different guises. The winner is usually (pretty much always) Ubiquity’s Cate le Bon, with honourable mentions to her croneys Sweet Baboo or H Hawkline, pretty sure, I saw her on 5 different stages one year…

I have seen her twice this year but the award for (the clunkily titled) West-Countriest man of the year would be the unlikely Guto Pryce of Super Furry Animals, whom I’ve seen twice playing with the reformed SFA and once with his lovely side-project Gulp at Green Man.

Gulp

I wrote about Gulp almost exactly 3 years ago, here, and I’ll confess to having almost completely forgotten about them in the meantime. There was a mention of them in the bar at Green Man and it all came meandering back.

The whole Gulp thing seems to have grown quite gradually over the three or four years (I certainly wasn’t on the ground floor with this…) up to the release of last year’s Seasoned Sun long player. It’s certainly a lovely sound that Guto and singer Lindsey Leven have developed in that time though, all lolloping basslines, impish synths and general psychedelic wooziness. The Guardian have christened their sound as being “the Wicker Man getting fresh with Nancy Sinatra”, a soundbite which the Quietus rather snootily dismissed but which I secretly wish I’d thought of. Leven’s vocals and phrasing do have something of the breathy, innocent eroticism of Annie Ross’ Willow’s Song.

Gulp have actually played a few Green Mans over the years before I managed to catch them in this year’s exclusive little cinema gathering Saturday teatime (just a few hours before SFA were due on the main stage). But here’s a clip of them playing “Vast Space” at 2013’s gathering:

 

I recorded the session (of course) and there’s a version of “Vast Space” that I’ll share, plus a couple of others, including a wonderfully trippy “Diamonds in the Sky” that you need to hear, I think…

Vast Space

Game Love

Diamonds in the Sky

And we play the game of love, and we hope that it’s enough

Here’s a welcome bit of news to perk us all up as Winter begins to poke it’s needy little face in at the window. Erstwhile (or current if you believe the rumours) Super Furry Animals bass player, Guto Pryce has a rather lovely little side project emerging, called Gulp.

Gulp

Formed with singer Lyndsey Leven and with the help of (erstwhile / current) SFA drummer Daf, Gulp this summer released a single on ELK Records from Cardiff. And it’s a bit of a belter…

In the last few months, I’ve done some pretty extensive digging into the various back and side catalogues of most of the members of Gorky’s, but inexplicably, Gruff aside, have rather ignored the outputs of the SFA members. More fool me, I guess, because I really like this Gulp record. The main track (do people still speak about A and B sides?), “Game Love” is particularly fine – insistent but ethereal vocals, draped languidly over a gorgeous, loping bass line.

You’ll like this:

Then there’s this rather more dancy, dubby offering on the other side, called Diamonds in the Sky. Words like “cinematic” and names like “Ennio Morricone” are being bandied around, but I gues nobody likes to say that it sounds a bit like, you know, Super Furry Animals… (No problem with that…)

I’m really keen on this, and am really looking forward to the album that’s being planned for next year. They’ve done a few dates recently and are, I think, due to support Django Django through October and November in the UK and Ireland. Catch ‘em while they’re hot!

Here’s a couple of  clips of Gulp playing the Club Ifor Bach in Cardiff this summer, sorry no idea of the name of either track: