Recalling the strangest moments of Scott Walker and Bryan Ferry — as well as the New Romantic movement of the early ’80s — GT (a.k.a. Graham Hollingsworth) has recorded an album that is both frighteningly dated and eerily modern. The ice-cube synthesizers in “Far Away” take us back to the England of more than two decades ago, but the beat is far from the cliched Euro rhythms. What Hollingsworth has done is take the essence of new wave and toss it in a classical context, creating a symphony of synthetic textures.
Out of all the records I’ve received in the past twelve months, no LP has had odder hooks than this. Like the Beatles, Hollingsworth has managed to transform pop into art. Beginning with “Far Away,” you’ll see the genius of Hollingsworth’s artistry. Powered by his deep, detached voice, “Far Away” is what Tindersticks would’ve been like if they aimed for the dance floor and not the pubs. The music avoids the usual disco pulse of club music with its unusual tempo changes. Hollingsworth’s talk-singing style adds atmosphere to his mysterious tales.
For years, people have been waiting for David Bowie to return to the cutting edge he once pioneered instead of catching up with Nine Inch Nails. The title track, with its slices of fuzzy glam guitar, recalls Bowie’s best without it feeling like a copycat.
Hollingsworth will probably get the most attention with his version of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” done here in an emotionally distant fashion that’ll startle purists; yet it fits perfectly within the context of this adventurous album.