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Groovy Uncle - One Vowel Away from the Truth

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 3 / 12 / 2013



Groovy Uncle - One Vowel Away from the Truth
Label: Trouserphonic Recordings
Format: CD

intro

Infectious second album from 1960's-influenced Medway-situated R'n'B group Groovy Uncle, who have collaborated on it with Cardiff-based singer Suzi Chunk


The Hanna Barbera inspired sleeve isn’t the only time a smile will break across the face of any music fan that is obsessed by the sounds of the 2960s when this album is in your hands or in the player. Groovy Uncle have already released a full-length album under their name, but ‘Play Something We Know’ was only available on vinyl (which was more than fitting) and via download; this time the band have chosen the CD format which hopefully will introduce their music to a wider audience. That said, if ever a sleeve demanded the 12” treatment then ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth’ must be near the top of the list. UK 1960's obsessives are spoilt just now. We have Chris Wade’s Dodson & Fogg project injecting new life into the prog/folk sounds of the late 60's and early 70's, Icarus Peel, who as well as his solo work, has the psych/ weird pop angle covered perfectly with his Honey Pot and Crystal Jacqueline projects, and Glenn Prangnell along with his Groovy Uncle buddies has the R'n'B/pop side sown up perfectly. Prangnell, on Groovy Uncle’s first album, showed that he was one of the few artists who could not only capture the sound of the golden days of music but also the atmosphere of the times. Prangnell did this so well he injected new life into the sounds of the past that he so obviously loves. Like Wade and Peel, Prangnell doesn’t just recreate sounds from the past, but he refashions them for a new generation while still satisfying the needs of those who can just about remember the sights and sounds from the 60s. While Prangnell (with Bruce Band on lead guitar and Vox Continental, Nick Rice handling the bass and Mole Lambert filling the drummer’s seat) hasn’t really altered much since ‘Play Something We Know’; he’s still mining the slightly edgier R'n'B side of sixties pop for inspiration, this time there are two major attractions which make this set of fourteen songs Groovy Uncle’s strongest album to date. Adding brass to some of the songs like on ‘Neptune Girl’ really does take the songs to another dimension, but it’s not the most important addition here. Enter Suzi Chunk. Prangnell and the Groovy Uncles played a major part in Suzi’s ‘Girl from the Neck Down’ album of course, and, while this isn’t the first time Suzi has appeared on a Groovy Uncle album and their musical careers have intertwined, there’s a reason Suzi gets a ‘featuring’ credit on this album. Suzi is another artist who, although vocally is taking inspiration from another era, also makes the music sound fresh and new. It’s not dated at all, and like Prangnell Suzi also captures the feeling of past times in her presentation. When Glenn Prangnell and Suzi Chunk get together to make music the results are staggering, especially when backed by those Uncle guys. Prangnell has the perfect voice for songs like these. He can throw in Beatle touches here and there,but never sounds like a Lennon or McCartney clone. The fact that Prangnell leans more to the early R'n'B side of anything Beatles-esque makes the resulting sound more like a cross between the Pretty Things and some of the more poppy 60's bands like the Fourmost or the Mojos. While not as sophisticated as Decca period Zombies perhaps, there are still elements of that band's music littered throughout these songs too. The whole atmosphere created on ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth’ is one of the band enjoying playing the songs while still keeping things interesting for the listener. Prangnell shows that he can throw a little humour into his lyrics to keep things a little tongue in cheek. ‘Ordinary Day’ is a perfect example of this, although smart one-liners are scattered throughout this album. It would appear that Prangnell has developed his lyrical skills since the last album. On some of the songs Suzi sounds like a dead ringer for Dusty Springfield. The opening track ‘I Know Where the Sun Shines’ is one example of just how powerful Suzi’s vocals are. With the Groovy Uncles sounding like an early 60's beat group the song flies out of the speakers. It sets out the band's stall out very nicely in under three minutes and is the perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with the Groovy Uncles. Prangnell opens the brass-infused second song ‘Neptune Girl’ with what could pass for a monster chorus. It’s so catchy, and when Suzi makes a solo appearance at just over a minute the song becomes an instant favourite. Again Prangnell throws in some smart lyrical touches, and when both Prangnell and Suzi sing on the fade out those few seconds are worth the price of the album alone. The vocals on ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth’ are probably spilt 50/50 between Prangnell and Suzi. ‘When I Saw Love’ a ballad where the couple sing together rather than taking a verse or chorus, separately proves that this is the way to go. While both Prangnell and Suzi are more than capable vocalists in their own right when they sing together that magic happens. The fact that ‘When I Saw Love’ is one of the prettiest songs yet to come from Prangnell’s pen shows that the spirit of the Beatles is still alive and well and in the capable hands of Glenn Prangnell in an analogue studio in Sandgate, Kent is going to make many a 60's music fan heart glow. ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth’, despite those involved already having released some of the best sixties inspired music over the last couple of years, is where the band show they are second to none when it comes to this type of music. ‘Brand New Badge’ belted out by Suzi is proof is any were needed that Groovy Uncle are indeed the real thing. Mention must be made of the closing song, ‘Human Scaffold’. Prangnell was obviously inspired by The Scaffold’s ‘Thank U Very Much’ 1967 top ten hit ,but his lyrics are both touching and hilarious. While it might not be totally representative of the Uncle’s sound it shows another side to the band and proves once again just how Prangnell has advanced as a writer. Simply put ; an absolute gem of an album and one that cements Groovy Uncle’s reputation as one of our best bands.



Track Listing:-
1 I Know Where the Sun Shines (feat
2 Neptune Girl (feat. Suzi Chunk)
3 The Money Shot (feat. Suzi Chunk)
4 When I Saw Love (feat. Suzi Chunk)
5 Memory (feat. Suzi Chunk)
6 Brand New Badge (feat. Suzi Chunk
7 Ordinary Day (feat. Suzi Chunk)
8 Must Have (feat. Suzi Chunk)
9 November (feat. Suzi Chunk)
10 It's Not Like Me (feat. Suzi Chunk)
11 Consider It Done (feat. Suzi Chunk)
12 Me and My Fair Weather Friend (fea
13 I'm Nearly Mad About You (feat. Su
14 Human Scaffold (feat. Suzi Chunk)


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groovy-Uncle/355746567693
http://craftweb.org/web/glenn/index.html
http://craftweb.org/web/glenn/index.html
http://groovy-uncle.co.uk/


Have a Listen:-






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interviews


Interview (2014)
Groovy Uncle - Interview
Malcolm Carter talks to Glenn Prangnell, the front man with 60's-influenced Medway-based act Groovy Uncle's recently released third album, ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth'

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