Album Review: Gayngs – Relayted (2010 LP)


They are the latest to jump on the recent supergroup trend, but Gayngs are a band with a difference. For one, its members hail from a wide and diverse range of acts, and for another, they’re more like a ‘super-music-community’. More than 25 musicians contributed to the making of Relayted, led by Gayngs’ founding members Ryan Olson and Solid Gold‘s Adam Hurlburt and Zack Coulter.

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, members of folk collective Megafaun, jazz saxophonist Michael Lewis and rappers P.O.S and Dessa are but a small portion of the musicians who lent their hand to this album. It would have to take a group this eclectic to produce ‘Relayted’, a truly unexpected sounding record that oozes nostalgia and transports you everywhere from smoky jazz clubs, to the shadowy streetlights of film noir. Said to be inspired by 10cc’s I’m Not In Love album, this debut is a collection of chilled-out ballads, slow-burning soul and intoxicating melodies, evoking a range of styles from jazz, hip hop, rnb and even soft-rock, and all set at a seductive 69bpm (with the exception of one track at 138bpm – 2 x 69).

At times the contributions are distinct. Justin Vernon’s ghostly, soft voice is easily distinguishable in songs like the moody and evocative opening track “The Gaudy Side of Town”, and the mildly cheesy, sax-driven druggy tune “Spanish Platinum”. But you probably wouldn’t expect that rapper P.O.S’s voice could sound so smooth and emotive on the wonderfully evocative “No Sweat”. It’s these little surprises that make ‘Relayted’ such a unique album, and where the songs work best are when the group really show they own them, like in their lethargic, gospel-infused cover of the 10cc track “Cry”.

Some songs have a tendency to meander into more cheesy territory (the guitar solo at the end of “Crystal Rope” conjure images of nostalgic ’80s crime dramas, though it’s not as cringe-worthy as some of Lewis’s Kenny G-style sax wailings in some tracks) but it’s merely a small glitch on an otherwise well-written and strikingly moody collaborative album.

Review score: 6/10