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Fraser A. Gorman's debut is a whimsical country rock throwback

"Slow Gum"

Release date: 29 June 2015
Fraser Gorman Slow Gum
10 July 2015, 11:30 Written by Jennifer Jonson
“It’s a strange old time to be in love with Elvis”, admits Fraser A. Gorman on “Big Old World”, the plaintive opener to his debut record.

Slow Gum is an unabashed anachronism, with Gorman proudly channelling his influences to produce an authentic rewriting of 70’s folk rock and classic Americana.

However, the self-styled 23-year-old troubadour from Melbourne isn’t eulogising a bygone era so much as reanimating it. Musically speaking, Gorman makes all the right appeals: he’s got harmonicas (see: “Blossom & Snow”) and wistful fiddles (see: “Dark Eyes”) paired with acoustic guitar licks that can only be described as “twangy”. He pens lackadaisical ballads on loves that never came to be, though his rambling lyrics occasionally wander into earnest territory. “Never Gonna Hold You (Like I Do)” is a tale of heartbreak on the beach which features the lament “I came in from the deep blue/but your legs weren’t at the end of my towel/guess that’s the way it goes anyhow” flanked in doo wop harmonies. While Slow Gum isn’t always hard-hitting, it is consistently charming and Gorman makes for an endearing protagonist.

In its strongest moments, the record is enough to make even modern listeners nostalgic. “My Old Man” is perfectly executed country rock in the vein of The Band and Desire-era Bob Dylan, though shades of Neil Young circa Harvest are also plain to see. “Shiny Gun” is another highlight whose rollicking narrative is built on a similar, familiar foundation. That’s the true magic of Slow Gum: it is such a thorough conglomeration of influences that it mostly manages to avoid sounding derivative. All that remains is for Gorman to figure out how to centre his voice over those of his predecessors in his own songs.

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