[sic] Magazine

Gayngs – Relayted

When “gang” and “related” usually share a sentence, they tend to prop up “violence”. In reality, and plural, the 25-strong Gayngs haven’t the bpm to cause violence, though their soulful 80s soft-rock may lead some in that direction. Others may well be very surprised upon listening to their album Relayted.

Sombre, six-and-a-half minute tracks lush with sleazy saxophone oughtn’t be great, but lead sample “The Gaudy Sound Of Town” is that and more. Sexy, slow-paced and with eyes-closed soft-rock riffing it sets the tone early on, adding curious, George Michael -like echoing vocals to the mix. And, it’s worth pointing out again, somehow it still isn’t rubbish.

It seems that any review of Relayted will come contractually-obliged with 10cc references, thanks to it being their sole influence listed on My Space. And just like latter-day 10cc, Gayngs carefully avoid gimmick and subsequent awfulness, but only just.

With fragrant whisps of jazz, adult-movie-background textures and Dr. Dre -style R&B smoothness, it’s astonishing when bubbling slow-burners rife with sexual tension like “No Sweat” surface from the shuffle. Some of this bombast is sadly apathetic (“The Walker” and “Ride”), but the more consistent and coasting jams on offer prove more than adequate compensation. The synths and pops of “Faded High” for example, along with its distant roof-top riffs, suspend the soul-jazz for long enough to satisfy those with an aversion.

For the record, and apologies to those missed due to reviewer ineptitude, Gayngs consist of leader Ryan Olson of Digitata ; Zack Coulter , Shön Troth and Adam Hurlburt of Solid Gold ; Maggie Morrison and Grant Cutler of dusty pop outfit Lookbook ; all three members of Megafaun ; The RosebudsIvan Howard ; Justin “ Bon Iver ” Vernon no less and fellow woodsman Mike Noyce ; rappers P.O.S and Dessa ; Andrew Bird ‘s personal saxophonist Michael Lewis ; singers Channy Moon-Casselle and Katy Morley ; as well as Jake Luck and Nick Ryan from Leisure Birds . This may equal supergroup to those in North Carolina or Minnesota perhaps, but not necessarily will it to those on the other side of the pond and further afield.

Thanks to Vernon’s inclusion, many will arrive at Relayted thanks to Bon Iver’s runaway success. “Spanish Platinum” features his mildly effected vocal, but it’s more “Woods” than “Skinny Love” it must be said. However, it is “The Last Prom On Earth” that will cause most controversy. Though a little shy on substance, it is sufficiently suitable for the titular mirrorball-lit groping and climaxes with Vernon’s fluttery falsetto that leads into his highly-quoted and amazing Bones Thugs-n-Harmony turn. Jaw-drop moment of 2010 is hereby confirmed.

How Relayted manages to stay coherent and avoid laughable pastiche is a mystery. It is production-high, patchy and 80s keyboards jostle languidly with soul and jazz. It breaks new ground only by revisiting old, but does so with respect. Relayted is worthy of merit for no other reason than it is a true spreading of wings for all concerned, or should that be Wings ?

Relayted is reyleased on Jagjaguwar on the 17th May 2010.