Album: The Blue Trees
Artist: Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
Reason Featured: #50 Album for NME’s Top Fifty Albums of 2000
My Favorite Songs: Lady Fair, Face Like Summer
Their Grades: Pitchfork (7.7/10)
My Grade: 67%
One of the most interesting things about doing this 2000 series has been seeing the amount of folk music which was hanging around before the mid-2000s revival established by people like Sufjan Stevens and Sam Beam. The first thing I thought about Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci was that their band name sounds like a track title from Sufjan’s Illinoise. Upon further research, it seems they’re more known for psychedelic pop but they’re somewhat adept at recording old-fashioned Canterbury Tales folk music too.
The pastoral songs on here are sometimes instrumental, sometimes sung in English and sometimes sung in Welsh. All of it is calming and delicate but nothing grabbed me to the point where I’ll be listening to this on the regular. Folk, perhaps more than any other genre, is easily lost within itself. Troubadours fingerpicking their acoustics are struck with a hard bargain: maintaining a working relationship with music that’s inherently unoriginal while finding enough of a unique voice to perk any given person’s ears. Does this work as the kind of music which could soundtrack a montage of green valleys and grazing cows? Certainly. But I’m not a grazing cow.
The main thing this album does is remind me how wonderful those more prominent folk revivalists were and are. They breathed fresh life into a genre which was still pretty bland when Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci took it on. This really is a pretty zygotic record, an embryo from which you can detect hints of the healthy newborns to come in the ensuing years.