The image of the ‘mad scientist’ musician is one we’ve known about for years, those individuals that lock themselves away for months – or years – on end, tirelessly searching for a sound or rhythm to take their compositions from their mind to the record. It’s quite an attractive proposition for those who have a single goal but want to go about it without the conversations and compromise that having other musicians around will bring, obviously the down side is you miss out on valuable input from someone who can look at things a little more objectively than our soul, lonely sonic inventor tucked away in his garden shed, but that is the price you pay.
But the world has changed, it’s quite an inexpensive journey to come up with an interesting track and you don’t need to be able to play four or five instruments, computer software is the wardrobe leading to this exciting Narnia of options and choices.
Hampshire-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Gale (formerly of Americana band Co-Pilgrim) has produced his fifth album in as many years (suggesting this method is working for him) and it’s somewhat of a concept album. The album starts in the season of spring, opening track ‘Season Creep’ sounds almost like an alarm being sounded, it’s time to wake from the hibernation of a long winter and embrace the new year, and we’re into the changing world or chirping birds, longer days, warmer temperatures and the optimism that comes with it.
As the album progresses, so too does the percentage of pop, as if the mercury on the thermometer is directly connected to the mood of the songs, we’re treated to songs that would easily coincide with a carefree drive in a car with the windows down, or a stroll through a sun-kissed park.
There is an air of George Michael’s ‘To Be Forgiven’ on title track ‘Summer Deluxe and a feeling of the Beach Boys throughout, particularly on ‘Every Cloud has a Cloudy Lining’, which, by the way, has the most repetitive second half of any song I’ve ever heard.
This album benefits from repeat listens, especially if this is your first journey into Gale’s music, there is a lot to savour and further proof that sometimes one person can do the work of many.