Gus Who? No, it wasn't a question. Or a challenge. Actually, I don't know
too many people called Gus. Gus Dudgeon is the only musical connection I
can recall. And I think maybe there was a gorilla called Gus. Anyway, I
Gus is, by all accounts, a singer/songwriter out of LA. In the past he's
supported the likes of Sheryl Crow, Verve Pipe (whoever they may be) and
Three Fish - which three I don't know, but to save arguments let's say hake,
haddock and cod. And this is, the DVD-A release of his 2002 third album.
And it starts promisingly with Cadillac Tears - an excellent 'talky'
strummer, with a catchy beat and a weighty rhythm . As far as I can tell
this was never a single but I would have thought it was the obvious choice.
Gus sounds his own man on this American radio friendly track.
Thereafter, he sinks firmly into Ryan Adams' Gold country-rock territory.
Nothing wrong with that, but the competition's fierce. There are typical
shades of Neil Young, and even Donovan on occasions. The construction of
When You Go Borrows heavily from Bowie's Space Oddity, the 5.1 surround
sound making you wonder whether there's perhaps something wrong with your
Paranoid is, surprisingly, a cover of the Sabbath masterpiece. If you
imagine how early Bowie might have sounded if he'd recorded it in the Space
Oddity era then you're not far off the mark. Interesting interpretation,
but it ain't gonna get your rocks off. It does however work really well
in the context of the album.
When the band does kick in, it's in a muted sort of way with Gus' vocals and
acoustic taking centre stage throughout.
The sound quality wasn't what I had perhaps hoped for (this was my first
DVD-A experience). The 'effects' seem to amount to little more than
fading the vocals up and down in the mix at a 'strategic' point. But maybe
there's something wrong with my PC or (more likely) my ears need waxing.
As for extras, there's seven mainly sepia tinted grainy (home made?) vids of
Gus and his band 'doing their thing' in the studio. Again pleasant enough,
but hardly essential viewing or pushing the envelope of the video era.
So, pleasant enough - one for getting the hood down and cruising. But maybe
not on a wet day in Hartlepool.