There isn't a whole lot to 'Slow Gum' that you haven't heard a thousand times before in various different guises through various different decades.
While that says a great deal about the endearing success of folky rock 'n' roll, it offers fairly little insight into the creative potential of Fraser A. Gorman. His debut album falls into the same occasionally tepid and beige waters as recent well-intentioned country rock revivalists like The Districts and Houndmouth.
On the flip side, Fraser can occasionally write a natty track. When you ignore the fact that it uses some tiring lyrical clichés like "Light the world on fire, / Won't you tell me your name? / Cus I ain't feeling quite the same" from 'Shiny Gun', or the awfully cyclical "shine on" on 'Book Of Love', there's never any mediocre music.
None of it is adventurous though, often staying well within the pentatonic confines of poppy country rock. There are the standard fiddles and guitar solos too - mainly just to fill space and mark time in the songs. It all feels a bit too calculated at times, though when he ventures into the realms of floral Kinks-y psych pop on 'Mystic Mile' or the slack Beach-Boys-via-Mac-Demarco style surf of 'Never Gonna Hold You Like I Do', there's a promising glimmer of the discrete and intrepid artist he could be.
Put down the handbook, Fraser.
Words: Tim Hakki
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