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Monday, October 8, 2012

Gnidrolog - In Spite of Harry's Toenail/Lady Lake

The identical twin Goldring brothers, Colin and Stewart formed this five-piece short-lived band known as Gnidrolog around in 1972. The brothers were once former actors living in the theatre and show business-era as kids, but grew tired and focused on their music career and their anti-war implications as well with Gnidrolog’s sound as well. That and their first two albums (In Spite of Harry’s Toenail and Lady Lake) have received the Esoteric treatment showed that they have a sound of Acid Folk, Doom, Political Boundaries, and Avant-Garde madness as well.

Their first album, In Spite of Harry’s Toenail, originally released on the RCA label in the Summer of 1972, showed a darker and sinister approach of the brothers music which is shown on the 7-minute Victorian/Steampunk epic, Snails that starts out as a mourning funeral between flute and oboe and then it escalades into a Horror film score in the style of a mass-madness Zombie apocalypse as Colin’s voice resembles the spookiness between the late Martin Raphael of Ramases and Peter Hammill of Van Der Graaf Generator.

Between Guitars going into an attack mode and haunting vocals, it has this weird persona of different collaboration styles of; Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, and Captain Beefheart working together and creating this terrifying composition that is perfect for George Romero’s 1968 cult classic, Night of the Living Dead. The 9-minute opener, Long Live Dead Man is almost a volcanic eruption between the guitar and swooshing bass lines including the shrieking flute solo and Colin’s voice makes it a perfect introduction to start the album off with a cannonball exploding out for attack.

Peter, which was a tribute to the Goldring’s father, is a soft and tender subdued composition while Time and Space which starts off in this 19th century classical piece as both flute, acoustic guitar, oboe, and recorder follow Colin’s voice about what its like to go into different voyages in the Outer Limits as it goes into this King Crimson meets Marsupilami freak-out session to send you goosebumps until the very end.

Then it all comes to the closing title track that is the real kicker. It starts with a mellowing downbeat and then it goes into ride into boogie blues-rock anthem with a chugging rhythm between guitar and bass and harmonica, making the ride a fun adventure into unbelievable results. Following the release of their first album, Lady Lake released in December of that year, proves to be somewhat there last, but imaginative as well.

It moved away from the sinister tones into more of a jazzy and spiritual tone that is proved on their second album and its quite staggering. The opening 11-minute I Could Never Be A Soldier is emotional and poignant dealing with the a person’s point of view as a soldier in the Army, dealing with what’s been going on with the War in Vietnam and to get away and praying for peace instead of killing innocent victims and how love can’t be helped anymore.

The brass-rock touches on Ship along with the acoustic folk moments in there are inspiring while the moving piano ballad Same Dreams, deals with looking back on the good times you had with friends and dealing with looking into the future and seeing where the direction you might go into. At times it sounds like Slade’s How Does it Feel, but its such a powerful song with guitar, oboe, piano, and drums as Colin sings his heart out about his reflection on looking back on his life in his childhood.

After the release of Lady Lake, the band broke up and the Goldring Brothers formed a Punk Rock band called The Pork Dukes in 1976 and reformed Gnidrolog and released Gnosis back in 2000. It’s kind of a shame that Gnidrolog could have been something amazing, but we have these two albums and still 40 years later they were ahead of their time and they would have pushed the envelope with their music.

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