Line-up: Lindsey Leven (vocals, keyboard), Guto Pryce (bass, production), Gid Goundrey (guitar)
Sounds like: A rainforest shower in a melty psychotropic paradise
Current release: All Good Wishes is out now via ELK Records
To help further the cause of up and coming new progressive music, each week we'll be bringing you one of the current issue's Limelight acts, complete with music to listen to. Remember, today's progressive music comes in all manner of guises, and it's important to support the grass roots of prog...
“Um, The Orb?” offers Guto Pryce after a few minutes of traversing the recesses of his mind. “You know The Orb? That’s pretty proggy. Good 20-minute soundscape. I dunno if that could be described as prog? I’m definitely into that…”
The Welsh musician, best known as the bassist with psychedelic indie pioneers Super Furry Animals, is attempting to uncover the progressive influences behind Gulp, the brilliant under-the-radar duo he shares with his wife Lindsey Leven (or trio, if you include guitarist Gid Goundrey). Together they make mini‑kaleidoscopic kraut-pop masterpieces that swirl around the memory and whisper influences that should make you happy: Giorgio Moroder, The Velvet Underground, Nancy & Lee…
“Punk rock, my first love, kinda spat all over prog, which probably put me off it,” admits Pryce. “But I do admire anyone who wears a cape.”
He ruminates further and adds: “I’m actually beginning to come round to the idea that prog was more punk rock than punk. It’s a real fuck you saying, ‘I’m going to play this song for 20 minutes in a cape to a stadium full of people.’”
Prog is a broad church, loving and inclusive, and Gulp’s psych, folk and krautrock-inflected sonic landscapes fit the ticket, even if Pryce is struggling to find his place in it all. “The tracks usually start at about 10 minutes and then we sculpt them down into a pop song,” he adds helpfully. “We listened to a lot of Donna Summer records in the studio – just for the repetitiveness – and although we try to keep our songs down to three-and-a-half minutes, we also like the idea they can be 10 minutes as well.”
Gulp’s first album Season Sun arrived in 2014, and much has changed between then and now, as second album All Good Wishes hits shops. Pryce and Leven have upped sticks from the former’s native Cardiff to the East Coast of Scotland, which Pryce describes as “drier” with “different light” and “more progressive politics”. Gulp are not a political band, he says, with their music more an antidote to the present horror show of British public life: “We do preach love and tolerance and beauty, which is probably becoming political. I think our music is about escapism with a dreamlike, otherworldly quality.”
Another big change for Pryce and Leven came with the birth of a baby. The infant is just seven weeks old when we chat on the phone, and Pryce says he’s started “getting into high-pitched xylophone music” à la Rockabye Baby. The arrival will delay any touring for now, and Pryce suggests that family life may delay further any prospect of a new Super Furries’ album.
“We may do some more touring,” he says. “Making an album is such an intense experience. Everybody in the band has families now and we can’t go to the studio for three months and just live on wine and olives. It’s just not practical. Furries may yet find a way of making a record that fits into all our lives.”