Gorky's Zygotic Mynci,
Spanish Dance Troupe
(Mantra, 1999)

It's pretty hard to classify Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.

You could lump them in with other groups from their homeland, and call them part of the "burgeoning new Welsh rock scene." (Yes, there is a burgeoning new Welsh rock scene.) But I've never been fond of geographical categories. That's like saying the Grateful Dead, Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Dead Kennedys belong in the same genre because they're all from California.

So, we're left, as we should be, with the Gorky's music.

My first impulse is to call them "neo-psychedelic," drawing comparisons to Flaming Lips or the Olivia Tremor Control. And that's fairly valid, especially considering songs like "Poodle Rockin'" from the group's latest album (and their second American release), Spanish Dance Troupe.

With its maelstrom of odd, distorted instrumentation almost obscuring a truly catchy melody, "Poodle Rockin'" is a pretty good indication of what the Gorky's are capable of. But Spanish Dance Troupe is by no means a one-trick pony.

In addition to psychedelic freakouts, the album has its share of haunting piano ballads, country laments laced with ghostly slide guitar, hummable folk-rock and gorgeous, '70s-esque orchestrated pop.

So, how do we classify this band?

Their press kit plays up the folk-rock angle, but there's too much going on here for such a simple label. More than anything, I'd say they most resemble a group of new, hard-to-classify bands like The High Llamas, The Aluminum Group and Apples in Stereo. These are groups that take their songwriting cues from Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach, but flesh out their sonic palette with noisy guitars, subtle strings and anything else that answers the call of the muse.

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci puts its own unique spin on this budding new genre, though, bringing a folksy, country-ish flair to virtually every track on Spanish Dance Troupe.

The end result is that we can classify this band as talented, original and evocative -- which means more than stylistic labels anyway.

[ by Paddy O'Furniture ]

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