Gary Wilson – Forgotten Lovers [Motel Records, 2003]

Gary Wilson - Forgotten LoversBoth a sick trip in a late seventies time capsule and a walk through a sonic mesh that defies carbon dating, Gary Wilson’s Forgotten Lovers is the follow-up to Motel Records’ April 2002 re-release of his 1977 underground oddity, You Think You Really Know Me (You Think You Really Know Me was first reissued by Cry Baby Records- a Philadelphia Record Exchange label- in 1991.). Forgotten Lovers compiles recordings made from 1973 to 1979 and captures the precarious moments slightly before Wilson’s creative swerve into the deeply bizarre and after he began to re-emerge.

Here, Gary Wilson is a mostly-atonal crooner of the quiet storm, an accomplished jazz bass and keyboard player, and an explorer of early modern and experimental rock. His lyrical obsessions- which include chrome, lost girlfriends, and walking into mirrors- are still present, though less overwhelming than before. “The Midnight Hour” and “Rhythm In Your Eyes” are odd attempts at upbeat R&B and pop respectively, complete with shouted background emphasis vocals by backing band, The Blind Dates. “Another Galaxy” and “Softly The Water Flows” present most purely an avant garde jazz essence, while the title song’s unmistakable new wave synth buzz a la Berlin lends cohesion to the CD’s fluid styles. “Chrome Lover,” begins as one of the smoothest tracks before dissolving into a disturbing sound collage that includes a telephone operator, running water, a music box Jingle Bells, and tortured multi-tracked voices calling “Make Out!”

For Gary Wilson fans, this Steely Dan meets Daniel Johnston in a movie theme recording is a must-have treasure. For those new to the adventure, try You Think You Really Know Me for the full-on (genius or stalker?) experience.

Robin Renée

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