Gayngs – Relayted
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69 bpm. That’s right – Gayngs’ debut album Relayted rests firmly atop one rule: all songs must play out at 69 bpm. It’s a unique idea to craft an album with preexisting limitations, and in many ways the bpm rule actually guides and informs rather than hinders Relayted. So although there is a bit less variation from song to song, the entire album floats by like an extended, lucid dream, which is ultimately the point.
Gayngs is a super-group of musicians assembled primarily by Minneapolis-based producer Ryan Olson and Solid Gold members Jack Coulter and Adam Hurlburt. The rest of the album’s lineup is rounded out by a rotating cast of 25 musicians including P.O.S., Dessa, and members of Bon Iver – to name a few.
Relayted begins with the danceable trip-hop of “The Gaudy Side of Town”, which flows into the slow, alt-rock trance of “The Walker”. Although there is certainly a juxtaposition of musical genres (also note the heavy influence of punk, new wave, ’70s soul, and more contemporary electronica), it is an enjoyable listen, smoothed over by pleasant, transitional interludes in between songs. These tracks are followed up by the album’s highlight, “Cry”, which is actually a cover of the same-named Godley & Crème song.
However, after the initial three tracks, the quality takes a small dip (understandable, because the first three tracks are beyond fantastic). “False Bottom” takes a slightly misguided dive into experimentation. It’s almost as if the musicians couldn’t decide if they wanted to maintain structure, or go all-out freeform. Alas, order is restored for the ensuing tracks – yet some still fall short of the album’s lofty ambitions.
Perhaps the constant bpm creates a bit of monotony towards the end of the 55-minute album. Perhaps the decision to layer fewer vocal tracks towards the end detracts from the delicious and haunting ambiance set up in the album’s beginning. Either way, the rest of the album is still very good, just not breathtaking. Considering the entire project and its regulated yet daring course of action, Relayted is a strong effort that may unfortunately get unfairly overlooked despite the abundance of talent in the Gayngs’ lineup.
3.5 out of 5