Gary Go (Bonus Track Version)

Gary Go (Bonus Track Version)

2009 saw Gary Go graduate from obscurity into nascent stardom thanks to a series of U.K. dates opening for Take That. Go builds upon this breakthrough with his self-titled debut album, a seamless pop confection made distinctive by his guileless vocals and self-revealing lyrics. Gary Go often seems like an extended therapy session, revisiting themes of abandonment (“Brooklyn”), personal boundaries (“Speak”), and free-floating ennui (“So So”) again and again. Go manages to convey resolve while fighting off despair, pulling at the threads of hope running through even his glummest songs. He’s helped considerably by the sparkling rhythmic drive propelling his tunes, especially on anthemic numbers like “Wonderful,” “Engines,” and “Heart and Soul.” Texture-wise the tracks range from quietly jazzy (“Honest”) to assertively rocking (“Refuse to Lose”), and the wistful, slide guitar-accented “Black and White Days” is the closest thing to a love song here. At his best, Gary Go breaks out of his pervasive melancholy and surges on a wave of optimism, sweeping the listener along for the ride.

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