The Gravity Drive is a prime example showing that the music distribution world has seismically shifted and we are in” Kansas” no longer. Even 10 years ago it would have been difficult to imagine a husband and wife being able to create music in their living room in West Dorset for public consumption. No less then being able to independently distribute that music and gain a following of any size without music industry backing. Yet that is exactly what The Gravity Drive has accomplished. The duo made up of Elijah and Ava Wolf is releasing Testament their début album after two years of hard work. The nine track release evokes an alternative, pop jazz vibe, harkening to Alison Moyet, and The Pet Shop Boys. Their gritty harmonic music puts a new spin on the him/her duos of the past.
The pair met in Netherbury, Dorset when Ava returned from LA where she had pursued an acting career and Elijah was attending Art College in Winchester. Ava had only started singing 4-5 years prior. Her background in Pop Jazz helped to develop an instinct for backing vocals and harmonies. Elijah has in the recent past pursued a solo music career. The Gravity Drive have received some great support from Radio 2’s Janice Long, Bob Harris and BBC 6 music, with the single Cherry Ripe getting them significant notice. The pair are currently promoting the album and will be recording a session with Bob Harris in February while, planning a tour in the spring. Both feel that technology has become the big leveler that makes things possible for “up and coming” musicians to compete in the musical marketplace. They revel in their total music independence and see it as a plus rather than detracting from their work.
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Like a modern day Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham with a much happier outcome, the duo swaps singing responsibilities and twists and intertwines their harmonizing to create something quite enthralling. The first song of the release The Wilderness has a great lead in with amazing harmony. The song transpires over a glistening soundscape, and the duo’s charming voices produce an enticing tune. Trick of Light has a great dance groove, and reminds me of Simple Minds and could it be Yazz? Ava really shows off her mad singing skills on this track. The appropriately named track Fun is exactly that, the interweaving of the duo’s voices makes for an enjoyable listen. You can hear exactly where they are at emotionally on the song. The combination of dance kick with ethereal pop is something special. I also can relate to the lyric, “The media is messing with my head”.
Circles is a mid tempo tune, with a note of melancholy. The song is about the end of a relationship and probably the darkest tune of the collection. Turning from that darker theme the album heads into the radio friendly tune, Cherry Ripe. The almost gospel like “call and return” chorus adds an additional dimension and makes for a very catchy and enjoyable sound. Hearts and Minds is basically a breakup song and my favorite of the album. I am at a loss to explain why I like it so much, you just have to hear it and see if you agree. The smooth production and apt singing coupled with lilting harmony make for an infectiously listenable song.
Tear Me Apart has this very dramatic, piano intro. It is about a destructive relationship. The “call and response” singing builds to the chorus. This is the point where Ava opens up vocally and it leads to some of the best moments of the release. The duo conveys some real emotions that are not completely relayed by the musical accompaniment. The following song Boy is a sweet ballad. The thought provoking lyrics makes it a memorable song. The final song Blindfold is a “do not miss” track. The song is sung so wonderfully and is all about the joys of finding your soul mate. This song could have gotten cloy but Elijah and Ava pull it off to perfection. Ava is channeling her inner Harriet Wheeler and that is not a bad thing.
Testament is an almost effortless blend of delightful vocal harmonies and well played instruments. It is hard to believe that there were not a cast of hundreds involved in a studio and manning the studio desk. It boggles the mind to think this was created in the front sitting room of the duo’s home. It is amazing to ponder what a little bit of music industry backing could do for these talented musicians. The release is a testament to the loveliness of harmony and melody. After a listen you will attest to the duo’s ear for a good pop tune. I can’t wait to see what they create next time out.
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