On his Bandcamp page, in that Scottish self-deprecating style, Gurry Wurry asks us to ‘imagine better songs. And a better singer. Imagine this album is, like most things in life, not as bad as it sounds’. Well, I’ve been listening to this album while recovering from a nasty dose of Covid and it turns out that Not As Bad As It Sounds really isn’t as bad as Mr Wurry makes it out to be. Quite the opposite, in fact: it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Gurry-wurry is an old Scots term for a dog’s growl or a brawling, wrangling fight. It appears to refer more to the ‘barking dogs, sirens and barking drunks’ that ruined his best takes while recording in his living room in Leith than the actual sound of the album. Because this is a collection of songs that both soothe and groove; something I sorely needed.
The vocals here are mellow and sorrowful and the grooves are laid back and melancholy, and yet, the album still feels uplifting. Whether it’s the lightly bubbling bass lines and organ flourishes on the album opener ‘Sunshine’, the lamenting piano and saxophone on ‘Blunt Shovels’, the groovy, dreamy guitar licks on ‘Bird Without a Beak’, or the funky synth grooves on ‘Here All Night’, there’s just something warm, comfortable and irresistible about the instrumentals.
The hushed, slightly warbling vocals won’t be for everyone – imagine Tunng crossed with Voldo and you won’t be far off – but there are some wonderfully mood-enhancing melodies hidden in there, most notably on ‘Blood’, ‘Coming Down’, and ‘Warm and Blue’. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, take it from me, Not As Bad As It Sounds might just help you out of your funk.
Not As Bad As It Sounds is out 27th March