"I want to be part of everything"
(Hits Like a Fix, The Gravity Drive)
"Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are." (Markus Zusak)
I once saw the comedian/writer Daniel Kitson do a "bit" about people who have "type" when it comes to who they find attractive. I won't do it justice here but he presented himself cooing over some girl who had eyes like pools of water at midnight with the moon reflecting in them, a laugh more delicate than birdsong, a smile that illuminated every dark corner of his life...but he liked blondes so that was that. The point, of course, is that "beauty" is a myth. Magazines, films, television, the fashion industry tell us what is or is not beautiful in subtle, and not so subtle, ways and then we, obedient little fools that we are, accept it.
It isn't only in relation to what/who we find physically attractive that we allow ourselves to have our tastes dictated to by external forces. It isn't only when seeking out a partner that we find ourselves trapped in a cul-de-sac from which there is, seemingly, no escape. In music we have allowed a situation to creep up on us where the frame of reference, the range of influences is so narrow as to be suffocating. Year after year critics tell us that the same records, the same bands and the same years are the "best" or the "greatest" and so, understandably, people seek those things out and create music that sounds just like it.
On one level there isn't anything particularly "wrong" about this. I don't doubt that there are people who really do like The Beatles. I really like bands who sound a bit like some of the very bands I am hinting at here. Familiarity breeds comfort. But on another level there is something really toxic about this. It stifles genuine creativity, it cuts off challenge, it denies people the chance to discover something...else. Too many people have decided they like musical blondes...because they've been sold that ideal.
Enter The Gravity Drive.
Here on "The Wildlight" are songs that shimmer and shine. Songs that creep up behind you and offer a path out of the cul-de-sac. Songs that are so delicate and delightful that you almost don't realise what they are doing to you. Songs that beat like a butterflies wing. Songs. Songs of purity, wonder, marvel and the thrill of not sounding anything like...
What is so thrilling here is the fact that it is music being made.
This isn't karaoke or homage.
This is craft and creation
You might think that the latest gaggle of kids in Gazelle's and with a battered copy of "Definitely Maybe" are worthy of your love. You might find yourself loudly proclaiming them the "next big thing". Maybe they will be. But you could just listen to "Definitely Maybe" again and save your money and energy. Or buy a ticket to go and see a tribute band.
But if you could listen to "The Wildlight"...things might change.
You see, the thing is...this is what it sounds like when people want to be creative, when the thing they are chasing isn't fame but is, instead, the joy of the work itself. There will be no regret from The Gravity Drive if they don't find themselves awarded with some moribund tag of "The next..." or a Mercury nomination. For them it is the work itself that is the reward.
That's what you are listening to.
I saw two girls at the end of my street today, packing things into the boot of a car. I don't know them. I don't know if they were friends, partners, sisters or strangers. When the last item was tucked away and the door was slammed they turned to each other and hugged.
I started to cry.
Right there in the middle of the street.
I wasn't wailing.
Tears jogging, not running, down my cheeks.
It was the sight of human touch after three months of social distance.
I didn't care that they were breaking the rules.
I was celebrating it.
I thought of all the people I haven't held.
The touch of someone you love.
"The Wildlight" is the sound of the embrace between those two girls; gentle, uplifting, joyous, tender, moving. It is also the sound of my reaction; aching, yearning, mournful and melancholic.
When the world is burning and only just about turning.
When we are assailed on all sides by ugliness.
When reason has vanished.
When you are looking for answers, a chance to change, the choice to rearrange...everything; "The Wildlight" is the album to guide you through and towards.
Sometimes you need a little beauty in your life.
Maybe it is time to forget about your usual "type", to turn your back on the things other people have told you to like and to find something...better?