GUM: Out in the World (Spinning Top) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, August 10th, 2020  

GUM

Out in the World

Spinning Top

Jul 14, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


If GUM’s latest album, Out in the World, sounds like Kevin Parker B-sides, that could be because Jay Watson—the one-person operation behind GUM—has a day job as a multi-instrumentalist for Tame Impala. Watson also shares the psych-rock musical DNA of POND, another fellow Australian group with whom he spends a fair amount of stage time performing. 

Extensive touring notwithstanding, Watson is prolific, releasing five albums since 2014. Out in the World combines the previous albums’ Top of the Pops circa ’80s New Wave fodder with ’60s California psychedelia. This is partly be attributed to the six months Watson spent living in Los Angeles, when he didn’t connect to the city, reacting to this feeling in what he was writing. Watson’s observations of the world are the overarching theme for Out in the World. At the same time, the album reflects on Watson’s inner world and seeks to improve it, best illustrated on the wide-screen space-rock of “The Thrill of Doing it Right.” 

A mad scientist of sorts with a sound that is his own interpretation of the weird and swirly synths of his compatriots, what Watson presents is the anti-arena-filling version of what Parker does. There is a Laurel Canyon free-spiritedness to album opener, “Weightless in L.A.” and a prog-rock wheeze to “Airwalkin’,” while the breezy quality of the title track could be twinned with Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer.” 

When there a moniker like GUM to crouch behind, with that comes a certain amount of creative freedom. This results in loose experimentation on Out in the World, which has unexpected and inventive results such as the “Tomorrow Never Knows” meets a drum ‘n’ bass breakdown at the tail-end of “Down the Dream” and the lounge-y vibes of the horn-laden “Low to Low.” It sounds like it could be a mixed bag, but Out in the World has a definite flow—and at no point does it become repetitive. (www.spinningtopmusic.com/pages/gum)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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