Review: Robin Guthrie Trio & Mark Gardener at Cargo
Published on February 26th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
As Ride legend Mark Gardener told Rocksucker recently, he and Cocteau Twins soundscapist Robin Guthrie shall be following up on their wonderful “The Places We Go” single of last year with a full album’s worth of collaborative material. What an appetite whetter it was, then, to catch both of them on the very same bill at east London venue Cargo last week – and what magic they both still possess, quite aside from that which they are evidently capable of conjuring together.
Gardener kicked off the evening with acoustic guitar in hand and trademark tilted trilby atop his head, treating an enthusiastic audience to a mix of Ride classics and more recent solo material. This merits further belated commendation of his gorgeously harmony-smothered and gently psychedelic 2005 solo album These Beautiful Ghosts, the follow-up to which we are assured is in the making. Bring it on, we say.
The stage was then set for a fabulously bearded Guthrie to fill the room with washing great swathes of echoing guitar that we’d be inclined to describe as ‘transcendent’ had that word not become basically obsolete. Liz Frazer’s vocals aside, Guthrie’s new material captures the essence of Cocteau Twins while weaving newer textures around it, making it abundantly clear that his was the key role in what made the band so special, so enduring and so gosh darn dreamlike.
Anyone unfortunate enough to have sat through the recent BRIT Awards coverage won’t need telling just how deep in the mire the musical mainstream has sunk, so the continued presence and excellence of Messrs Guthrie and Gardener should be celebrated all the more as a reminder that, once upon a time, genuine creative talent could prevail over such suffocating concerns as key demographics and commercial viability.
Someone somewhere along the line called it shoegazing, but such are the celestial properties of the sounds they create that it sounds more like stargazing to us. Three cheers for musical transcendentalism!
Rocksucker says: Five Quails out of Five!