Gurry Wurry is the solo project of psychedelic dabbler, Dave King, and ‘Not As Bad As It Sounds’ is seemingly their first release. The album is a warm selection of off-kilter piano-pop, the arrangements plush and considered, while the lyrics delve into the weird corners of the psyche some of us got stuck in over the past few years.
Though each song uses a fairly simple foundation of keys or guitar in the style of early ’70s troubadours like Harry Nilsson, King is clearly a studio tinkerer, adding little embellishments here and there. Sax trills occasionally pop up (Good Year for a Coma, Sunshine), Coming Down features some radio-filtered effects and Here All Night has some downright funky licks.
There’s an ambition to these songs that sometimes seems confined by the recording limitations (King’s flat in Leith), despite his clear skills at bringing together a range of elements into a cohesive whole. The best example of this is ‘Blood’ – a song that uses basically the same palette as every other one, but just coalesces in a way that the rest can’t match. Some cuts overstay their welcome as they push past the five minute mark, but ‘Blood’ is a melodic delight that is the perfect encapsulation of the Gurry Wurry sound.
King’s style is of a piece with Welsh art-poppers like H. Hawkline or Sweet Baboo, making wistful tunes that split the difference between The Beta Band and Randy Newman. As he steps out the living room, there’s a world of potential for a songwriter with his deft musical touch and willingness to keep it weird.