That Gum U Like release new single Ballad of a Boy, tapping into raw emotions that are drip-fed amongst a thoughtful, shoegaze atmosphere.
Husband and wife duo That Gum U Like really know how to create an atmosphere. Their seductive and wispy brand of dreampop has been gradually gained plaudits as, over time, they’ve managed to tweak the sound and add to its presence. New single Ballad of a Boy is a testament to this hard work culminating in a track of dreamy soundscapes addictive melodies.
Ballad of a Boy fades in with gentle, echo-laden guitar before electronic drums and synths are added to create a subtle but swamped, shoegaze atmosphere. Andressa D’s vocals are then dripped in with their floaty quality instantly mystifying the track and bringing with them a sense of beauty and transcendence. The lyrics are just as intriguing, allowing the listener to draw their own conclusions from what the singer has been through and what has happened: “his trembling face always looking for something, never finding”. The melodies and dreampop synths are reminiscent of tracks from the Drive soundtrack, but only up to a point, being able to tap into a beauty but also have that dark edge that is reflected well in the lyrics.
At around 5 minutes long, Ballad of a Boy is not a short track, but justified due to the change-up at around the 3 and a half minute mark. Vocals start to stutter then float away to be replaced by fast-paced synths that lead the track onwards in a different direction. Everything is gradually added back in as Andressa D sings of what seems to be the dizzying emotions of love and loss. It’s all very clever, and because the track takes its time to get to this point, it really opens up the sound and emotion without feeling rushed.
Ballad of a Boy is testament to letting a track breath. Because it’s given time to open up, we find layers within layers that you can peel back after more than one listen. Andressa D’s vocals are the guiding voice that fades in and out when necessary and take you by the hand to guide you to the song’s conclusion. Dreamy, powerful stuff.
By Jamie Parmenter