Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Sleep/Holiday

The road of Gorky has been a long road. In a story that parallels the well-covered Wilco vs. the Label storyboard, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci lost the backing of their former label, Mercury, just two weeks after the release of their album Gorky 5. In the three years since, the band has simply persevered, writing songs, releasing singles and EPs, and doing what they love to do. The change and largely the lack of funds forced them in a sense to get back to basics, and their new LP, Sleep/Holiday, is a testament to the wisdom of not overproducing a record of truly original and moving songwriting.
Seesawing between experimental, ambient songs, and sensitive sugary pop, the album risks not hanging together as a cohesive work, but in the end the band pulls it altogether. The first half is decidedly “lighter” than the latter, flirting with perky toe tapping, quick country sing-a-longs, rock and roll (“Mow the Lawn” – the first single from the record), and the unfairly catchy ooh-ah let’s all clap and bob our heads, “Eyes of Green, Green, Green.” The second half veers off into slightly more risky and perhaps (at the end of the day) more steadily interesting work, moodier, more naked, emotionally dangerous. The arrangements stretch out a bit, the violins and keyboards rise up a little out of the mix, and with more minor chords and a little bit of psychedelia thrown in for good measure, there is no debating Gorky’s ability to put on a few different faces. “Leave My Dreaming” is as swimmingly slow and sweet as its title suggests and makes one think of children on their backs watching the clouds, while “Pretty as a Bee” is too long and weird, though well-constructed, for one not to flash on Floyd at some point while listening to it.
The harmonies are lovely throughout the record and certainly a strong enough highlight to make one yearn for Pet Sounds to miraculously start playing after Sleep/Holiday comes to a close, a sign that the album is certainly worth its weight. Still, the record lacks what in Mike Tyson’s PunchOut! would be referred to as the Star Punch. Solid though it may be from beginning to end, it lacks that one song, or maybe even the one moment that a listener just can’t get enough of, and so forces him/her to come back to the record again and again. Maybe it’s there though. The closest the band ever comes is probably the second track, “Happiness.” Go to their site. Listen to that song. Let me know what you think.