25.1.13 Record Collector

Canterbury Scenesters' return to bright light

Album cover 2012

While Caravan and Soft Machine may have been the better-known proponents of the Canterbury Scene, Gizmo's prog-rock was also archetypal of the genre. This self-titled full-length is their first record for two decades and is a welcome return to a laidback, easy-going era when life seemed that much simpler and innocent.
Songs such as Just A Dream and the powerfully beautiful-yet-tragic Starlight somehow exist both in the past and in the present, but aren't confined or defined by either. Rather, they soar with a freedom that seems to elude the majority of bands these days. Elsewhere, bonus track House With No Door - a soothing, dreamy psychedelic journey of a song - features the late Hugh Hopper, serving as a poignant tribute to the former Soft Machine member.
Singer Dave Radford's quintessentially English vocals lend Gizmo a wonderfully authentic charm; this is music without affection, made by old friends who once again felt that creative urge after spending many years without it. As such, it's a record that's both timeless and anachronistic, its wistful songs fitting in with, but also sitting on the edge of, the modern world.
Mischa Pearlman

7.10.12 by Martin Judd

(owner of Music Mart store)

"If Caravan and Soft Machine were the Patriarchs of The Canterbury Scene then Gizmo was the naughty schoolboy, but that all ends with their latest offering.
Gizmo, the album, is full of all the trademark pieces that their die-hard fans will expect but added into the mix are very memorable hooks and the finest musicianship.
Throughout its history and evolving membership Gizmo could always be identified by Dave Radford’s distinctive vocals and the same remains true here but the songwriting has matured and blossomed.
Martin Reed's guitar playing is simply superb, one track in particular, Just A Dream, evoking strong memories of those wonderful Steve Hackett days in Yes.
Alex Powley and Ian Harris lay a solid yet flowing foundation for Grant Matcham's keyboard artistry.
As with all music of this genre, the first listen will simply whet your palate, but with this album the second listen will have you well and truly hooked!
In my opinion the best offering yet from this iconic Canterbury band, release is imminent, buy it with all haste!"

2.11.12 by John Keston-Hole

Gizmo - 'Gizmo'

It was only due an idle Google search on a quiet evening last year that I discovered that Gizmo were about to reform. Nearly a year on from seeing them for the first time in over 30 years (gulp!) comes the revelation of a new album.
The new album, simply called Gizmo, arrived a couple of weeks ago and... it's really stunning. The reference point for me is the first album which has been a favourite for thirty-odd years and this is a logical progression from that - still musically original but lyrically more developed and reflective. The standard of writing is outstanding, the songs imaginatively arranged and beautifully played and there is a musical coherence to the album – it sounds like an album meant to be listened to as a whole, which is some achievement in the era of downloads.
I've found myself humming different songs off the album each day – every track is really that strong. The climax of the album though is undoubtedly the tragic tour de force of Starlight.
Buy with confidence - this is a terrific album and deserves to get a wider audience for the band. Best of all, it sounds like Gizmo and that's great to hear.

1.12.12 by Paul Crampton

Gizmo have been together now for the best part of 40 years. Based around founder-member, Dave Radford, the band are still very much an interesting, evolving and active unit. Moreover, this latest eponymous album, their 4th to date, is so much more than the musings of a semi-professional unit, obliged to record their current output for posterity. Indeed, their new album, simply entitled 'Gizmo', is a powerful and emotional collection of 'intelligent rock' tracks to rival the likes of Porcupine Tree, or even Pink Floyd.
Following an ominously beautiful piano intro, the track 'ICU Juicy Me' kicks off with a tricky neo-prog riff before launching into the punk-flavoured verse. Dave's voice has never been better here as he offers the first of many 'flavours' to be enjoyed on this album. The middle-eight is a return to the wonderful Gentle Giant-meets-Dave Gilmour melange before a return to the harder edged verse. Note the barbed reference to 'Lounge on the Farm' in the lyrics.
The instrumental 'Almost Starlight' is a reminder of the 'Victims' album, before it segues into 'Suddenly', and classic Gizmo territory. This is a beautifully introspective track that you could almost imagine being covered by more established voices if it were better known. Still, it's early days yet.
'Little Man (Ditty)' is another instrumental link track that brings us into the folky 'Sailing on a Dream'. I defy anyone not to join-in with the addictive sing-along chorus. Throughout, acoustic guitars and an 'accordion' abound alongside Dave's strong vibrato-tinged vocals. Electric keyboards keep a respectable distance, but still add something positive to the overall feel of the track. The song ends appropriately with the sea crashing onto the beach along the north Kent coast.
'Just a Dream', with its organ-based riff and odd time signature, offers a reminder of Caravan, and other Canterbury-based bands. Dave delivers another compelling and memorable chorus, and the blistering guitar solo cannot be ignored either. The whole things wraps up with a riff that even Steven Wilson would be proud of.
Another powerful rock riff, exchanges places with a nursery-style celeste, in the poignant introduction to 'The Little Man that Sang': a track inspired by a family member of Dave's. That see-sawing rock riff announces its presence throughout the track, including its somewhat chaotic and 'trippy' ending.
'The promise' guides us towards calmer waters, accompanied by some lovely piano playing from Grant Matcham. Dave's voice is as plaintive as I've ever heard it before; in fact, the man's vocal dexterity has never been more obvious. Some lovely guitar work and thrilling chord sequences recall early Steve Hackett, but actually manage to surpass him here.
'Starlight' carries on from the above track, and in the same mood, but is perhaps even more agonisingly beautiful, with its lyrics about a lover lost to suicide. By now, the hairs on the back of the neck are really rising. This, very much the album's 'Day in the Life', is appropriately jointly written by Dave Radford and fellow guitarist Martin Reed.
The main body of the album closes with 'Sailing on a Dream (Reprise), with its drunken revellers and Grove Ferry ducks.
The album's 'bonus' track is the wonderfully epic, tour-de force 'House with no Door'. It also gives us the flavour of a previous line-up, as well as having the late and legendary Hugh Hopper on bass. And we are offered yet another fabulous sing-along chorus, alongside the sax playing of the Canterbury-based Tony Rico.
Upon hearing this album, the first thing you'll want to do is play it again, to make sure it was as bloody good as you thought it had been the first time through. You won't be disappointed either; nor will you change your mind. Of all the Gizmo albums recorded to date, this one utterly deserves a mainstream release, so that it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Tell your friends; spread the word!