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Slow Gum is the long-awaited debut album from Torquay-born Melbourne-dweller, Fraser A. Gorman. Growing up on the Victoria coast wouldn’t normally inform a typically American folk sound, but Slow Gum is a panopticon of rich references to his hometown, with nostalgic, beachy storytelling lurking around every corner, backed by bluesy slide-guitar and country rhythms.
On his brilliant debut Slow Gum, Fraser A. Gorman takes you on a winding metaphorical journey through Americana-inspired blues and country, ripe with vivid story telling that is the soundtrack to your beer-soaked Sunday afternoons.
Right off the bat Slow Gum is reminiscent of Bernard Fanning’s seminal record Tea and Sympathy. Fanning once described his album as “porch music”, the type of thing you can see yourself sitting on your front porch listening to and watching the day go by. Slow Gum is porch music, a blend of Dylan, Young and Reed – the big guns of Americana.
Recorded by Cal Barter and mixed by Dan Luscombe, Slow Gum is the latest release on Courtney Barnett’s Milk! Records, and features contributions from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie, You Am I’s Davey Lane and Jarrad Brown and James Fleming from Eagle and the Worm.
While Gorman has said he doesn’t want this album to be marred by the sound of his earlier country-folk releases, Slow Gum still carries tones from the genre. Drum tracks draw on that signature Johnny Cash brush and some beautiful slide guitars akin to the great Tom Petty.
My Old Man is one of these tracks. A powerful violin and piano fill the song and when paired with Gorman’s reflective lyrics, it’s easy to think that it’s the work of someone twice his age. Shiny Gun is a great sing-a-long track with a bluesy guitar solo in the middle eight. The track highlights Gorman’s ability as a storyteller, a narrative that goes from sweet love story to lover on the run. It’s also worth watching the video, which features Gorman, Courtney Barnett, Davey Lane and Angus Agars in an halarious Anchorman-inspired mock newscast.
We’re All Right is a Lou Reed, Transformer-esqe track. A slow-burner that builds to an earthy horn/keys/vocals crescendo, Gorman takes you through a metaphoric journey through his life to old age. Gorman closes out the album with the perfectly balanced and soft-spoken Blossom & Snow. It’s well-constructed and beautifully executed, a fitting end to the story he has told.
Fraser A. Gorman’s Slow Gum is an impressive record, it’s considered and well produced. It’s even more impressive knowing that Gorman is only 23, with a record under his belt that is well beyond his meager years. Make sure you listen to Slow Gum on a sunny Sunday afternoon with a beer in hand, you won’t regret it.
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