Label: Western Vinyl Release date: 09/11/10 Link: Official Site By this point, anybody who cares about Gary Wilson probably knows his story. The scant releases, the lack of live shows, the reclusive nature, it has all been documented far too many times over for me to reiterate it, knowing fully well that most people who see this review will probably either Google or Wikipedia search Wilson’s name in some quest for information. What I will say is that I have been a fan of his music for years now, and if shout outs from Beck, lo-fi and home recording enthusiasts, outsider fans, and reviews have failed to spark interest in his wholly unique and engrossing music, then the status quo has failed. To be blunt, Electric Endicott is one of the things that will define his career, and is an album that will be all but forgotten by major press and music listeners – a feat wholly derived from their own faults and lack of cognizance about Mr. Wilson. I’d even go so far as to say that Electric Endicott may be the most solid thing Gary’s done since his epic and legendary debut, You Think You Really Know Me, a synthesis of his old habits with his new music as he undertook during the lost years of his career. Why mince words when what we have here is something worth celebrating? All the trademarks are back: Wilson’s voice (which, as always, sounds like it’s been sped up a third via tape manipulation), the forward thinking retro sounds, his knack for pop structures with non-pop melodies and lyrics, and his general state of unease. The paeans to long lost relationships and failed sparks are somehow more potent, the result of years of rumination and pent-up guilt. From the first second things have changed, musique concrete blending with ominous dissonance from unknown electronic sources wrapped up in a little intro titled ‘She Never Called Me.’ Wilson’s fractured sense of pop rock is in full swing here, often utilizing the confessional box quality of Gary’s closely recorded vocals against the clean AM radio influenced backings which here confuse me on a tonal level – what I mean is I don’t know what is MIDI and what is real most of the time…it’s maddening…but I digress. It cannot be denied that each chorus packs severe punch into few lines with ‘In The Night’ being a particularly insidious little earwom. Where the album really manages to stand out from previous efforts is its use of breaks, interludes, and the range of playing therein. ‘Kathy Kissed Me Last Night’ and ‘I Talked To My Girlfriend Last Night’ are pure jazz, a nice break from the bizarre stylings of the surrounding tracks that showcases Wilson’s genuine talent behind the piano while reminding one that he was in a jazz band back home in San Diego. When he decides to drop in a few electronic pieces, it’s undeniably jarring yet helps transition from song to song in a way that breaks up the sonic similarities in each song. Then again, that heavy mod synth that sounds halfway between a Moog and a Theremin never gets old (check ‘Lisa Made Me Cry’ to hear Gary rock the fuck out of that synth) nor do the vaguely 707 sounding drums, the kind of vintage sounds that have always marked Wilson’s output, only here present in a way that feels somehow better than before. And while the overweening of nostalgia here is nothing new, the retreads of previous flames like Linda and Mary seem to be new wounds (or old ones with increased bleeding), wounds that cry out in scattered amounts of happiness, sadness, pleasure, despair, and longing, never in the same combination or sentiment other than a pure sense of nostalgia. To this day I cannot help but be surprised at how little attention Gary Wilson gets. Maybe his penchant for elaborate stage getups, blow-up dolls, flour self-flagellation, and sonic trademarks that sound “out of style” prevents the general population from truly understanding his twisted genius in a market of songs and artists who would rather shout about getting fucked up at the club before having promiscuous sex…or maybe I’m being too cynical here. No matter what the cause is, Wilson’s writing is as lively as ever here if not more so than in previous efforts – the sound of a musician still in his stride some thirty years after his debut dropped. Maybe Wilson is just keeping up his persona to some degree, but when you hear how honest he sounds - how hurt he sounds - the truth seems to be that obvious. Then again, the last song is a call for his childhood pet to return (‘Where Did My Duck Go?’) so I’m not even sure of Wilson’s modus operandi here completely. Ultimately I could care less about that when I have the music to speak more volumes than a simple hypothetical thought ever could. Photobucket