Eyes For Gertrude – Residential Bliss

Residential BlissResidential Bliss is the “long awaited” debut by folk-duo Eyes for Gertrude. It’s an album of songs about things out of reach, of songs about songs, of songs about guessed experiences, and of songs about experiences the band are not sure they believe should be occurring in their lives. It’s an album about trying to escape certain ways of life into adventure. It’s therefore cruelly fitting that BLISS Residential is a care home in Sheffield.

Eyes for Gertrude’s is that strange paradox; the wistful melancholy of folk blended with the optimism of youth; causing them to make warm hearted, wholesome music about being somewhat trapped by aspects of grey, workaday suburbia. Youth and age are blended into that strange mix. Folk is an earthy genre. It deals in stories and things that actually happened, and Eyes for Gertrude don’t tell stories so much as deal in story-like abstractions:

You gotta get me” – instead of who and how this getting has to occur and in what alley (or Starbucks); “I was only messing around, never meant to throw you to the ground" – instead of what actually happened and how this person has been in pain on the floor; “you’re acting like you’re living in a movie” –instead of clarifying whether they’re ripping off Debord. etc.

Folk lives or dies far more than say, funk metal, by the treatment of its lyrical material. That’s why they need to grab some which is based on viscera. Where do Eyes for Gertrude go, once they have actually started doing some of the living they are clearly desperate to do? Most likely, they will lose some of the American country swing and strut. There are certain songs, in which the lyrical material doesn;t fit the ease with which it suits a barn dance.

Ben Mink’s mix is lush and beautifully balanced – maybe a bit rich for some tastes, but what are you gonna do about that? While flowing and warm, it’s incredibly safe and safety does seem to be Gertrude’s inevitable return point. They could be a really great band in a few years time, but the material will only get better if they take more risks.  They would write better songs if they treated the specific things which make up their lives as the richer seam. It would at least give them some balance and probably a bit of dirt and humour.

Release: 24th January 2015, Self-release

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  1. Eyes for Gertrude launched album to sell out venues | Sophie Sweatman - 03/02/2015

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