REVIEW: GAZELLE TWIN: MAMMAL

Gazelle Twin, otherwise known as Elizabeth Walling, is a British musician hailing from Brighton. Her debut album, The Entire City, is often described as “art rock,” but this E.P. is pure trip-hop. Well, 98% trip-hop.

There’s a distinct electronica influence here, too. Elizabeth’s vocals on “Heartbeat” especially call to mind the brilliant Fever Ray, the side-project of Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife. It would actually seem as though both of Andersson’s projects have informed Mammal. And there’s nothing wrong with that — if you’re going to be inspired by other artists, be inspired by the best. To that end, Mammal’s opening track, “I Turn My Arm,” would seem to be heavily inspired by Massive Attack, their Mezzanine album in particular. There are times when I could almost swear that I’m listening to Massive Attack’s “Angel.” (This song would almost seem to mesh the melody of “Angel” with the percussion of “Risingson.”) When Elizabeth sings, “Turn, turn my arm,” it sounds like a deliberate homage to the vocal “you are my angel” from “Angel.” Or maybe it’s just my over-active imagination.

The third song here, “This Is My Hand,” begins with a droning sound with a considerable amount of bass. It might even be synthesized bass. Sometimes it’s hard to say for sure. The song soon adds other beats — warm layers of them, in fact — but it remains very repetitious and is quite hypnotic accordingly. Elizabeth does quite a bit of singing on this track, her voice haunting and seductive. Even when the vocals are low in the mix and you can’t always understand her, she’s always captivating. In that respect, she reminds me of the extremely-talented Grimes. The synth and other effects during this song call to mind Grimes as well.

The remaining tracks on Mammal are all remixes. Up first is a Clint Mansell remix of “This Is My Hand.” He gives the song gentle, humming sounds and a subtle back-beat, putting Elizabeth’s dreamy vocals in the forefront. A louder electro-beat kicks in just when Elizabeth’s vocals are intensifying. There are quieter moments later that remind me of the score he did for the movie Requiem For A Dream, which is one of my all-time favorite scores.

The final three remixes are all of the song “I Turn My Arm.” Renaissance Man’s trippy take on it especially reminds me of Tricky’s Maxinquaye album — arguably his magnum opus — though it also features elements of witch house. The Kuedo remix is very airy and synth, with no real beats to speak of, giving the song an interesting new age vibe. Finally, Alixander III’s version gives it a mild EDM beat with deep, throbbing bass. It isn’t bad, but it does feel a little long-winded at 7:01.

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Paris365

An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.

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