Gesticulations is a solo project for Graham Ashton, who you may recognise from The Shambolics and Way Cool Jnr. Today he releases the first album for the project, Sense of Purgency. The songs are typically very lyric-driven, and musically sparse. Whilst being sparse, it is varied and interesting. Elements of this record remind me of Lou Reed’s iconic album Berlin, with a distinctly Australian twist.
The album was produced by multi-instrumentalist Benny D Williams, who also played on many of the tracks. Fans will be delighted that a second Gesticulations album is already in the works.
Ashton has put together a track-by-track description for Sense of Purgency, so have a read, turn it up and enjoy the beauty of this fascinating album.
VESSEL – Graham Ashton (Words), Benny D Williams (Guitars, Organ & Vocals), Joe Seymour (Fat) (Bass & Vocals)
This one was really spontaneous with Benny coming up with the Velvety riff and Joe providing the groove. The lyrics are an overview of the sense of loss that looms large on most of the album. Benny added the organ during the mix and it found itself as the opening track.
THE BAND – Graham Ashton (Words), Michael David Thomas (Words, Guitars, Mandolin & Organ), Benny D Williams (Drums, Bass & Vocals)
I had been working on the idea of writing a song about my favourite band for years and during lockdown sent some lyrics to Michael David Thomas. Michael’s songwriting is a huge inspiration and he re-worked the lyrics and sent a demo version that I loved. This is the results of an incredibly fun session with Benny, Michael and I.
STAY CURIOUS – Graham Ashton (Words), Benny D Williams (Guitars, Bass & Melodica), Hannah Campbell (Vocals)
This was the first song where we started exploring the idea of what GESTICULATIONS could be. It was when I first realized that Benny could pretty much replicate anything I imagined in my head and Hannah is such a creative, imaginative singer. I was working on a book inspired by a dear friend that is no longer with us. The lyrics are a combination of my favourite phrases from the book and a tip of the hat to Sun Kil Moon & Kate Tempest who are huge inspirations.
THE COMPANY I KEEP – Dave Thomson (Fat) – (Words, Guitars, Bass & Harmonica) Graham Ashton (Vocals), Danny Widdicombe (Slide), Morgan Hann (Suicide Swans) (Keyboards), Benny D Williams (Drums), Deb Suckling (Vocals)
I bumped into my old mate Dave Thomson who had written this wildly ambitious song. We worked together to bring in some other incredible musicians to record their parts remotely during lockdown. I was incredibly flattered when Dave asked me to have a crack at communicating his lyrics with the spoken word vocal and then especially grateful he was happy for his song to find a home on this album.
LOVE SONG TO THE CITY – Graham Ashton (Words), Benny D Williams (Guitars & Drums), Michael David Thomas (Bass & Vocals)
The Lower East Side of Manhattan is incredibly romantic to me on every level and I have always loved the idea of “The entire planet of just a few blocks”. Benny provided the Lou Reed guitar vibe and Michael and I tried to make the chorus sound like Bob Dylan and Lou Reed were singing together.
TRYING TO LET GO – Graham Ashton (Words), Deb Suckling (Guitars & Vocals), Joe Seymour (FAT) (Bass).
During lockdown I was sharing punk poems on social media and my mate Deb asked if she could turn this one into a song. I couldn’t believe how beautiful her representation of this song become and just hope I didn’t fuck it up by singing along.
WHENEVER IT FADES – Graham Ashton (Words), Benny D Williams (Organ, Bass, Drums & Chimes), Hannah Campbell (Vocals).
This one was also from the very first session driven by Bennys organ which was inspired by Gil Scot Heron. The chorus has been with me since I first started writing songs and Hannah help us take it to a pretty cool place.
AMBUSHED – Graham Ashton (Words), Benny D Williams (Guitars, Bass, Vocals & Synth).
What you hear is what you get here. This one is a very literal outpouring from an innocent walk. Musically very inspired by Kid A period-Radiohead.
PUNK – Graham Ashton (Words), Benny D Williams (Synth). Just a punk poem about punk.
THE GLUE (Song For Rollo) – Graham Ashton (Words), Joe Seymour (Fat) – (Guitars, Bass & Vocals), Benny D Williams (Guitars, Drums & Vocals).
Brentyn “Rollo” Rollason from Blowhard is a huge reason that the Brisbane music community has thrived so much over the last four decades. I was lucky enough to see and feel his generosity of spirit up close and to be inspired by him. We lost a great man when Rollo passed away in 2019 and “The Glue” is a thank you to him. I re-connected with my dear friend and old bandmate Joe and we had a crack a bringing the album home with a WEEN inspired sea shanty for Rollo.
Sense of Urgency by Gesticulations is out now on all major streaming services.
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