I first encountered psychedelic dance rock trio GU-RU at HRH Prog back in November 2018, and the way they mixed progressive styles with big beats won over the crowd and myself, this, their latest EP is a continuation of that epic sound, which has to be heard to be believed.
The trios sound is unique in contemporary progressive circles, eschewing the normal drum, bass and guitar format for something far more exciting, you get keyboard and vocalist Lee Spreadbury, Naomi Perera on vocals and flute and Malcom D’Sa on drums.
With a concept around the rise and fall of protagonist Zenith, and loving packaged in striking artwork (designed by Lee’s sons Eugene and Vincent – making this a real family affair) this 4 track EP showcases the best of GU-RU and their unique cosmic space disco sound, from the opening flute driven opener Zenith which feels the closest to traditional prog on here, however the way that both Lee’s keyboards and Naomi’s flute weave together to create an impressive sonic tapestry, anchored by the beat of D’Sa.
Turning it on its head, we get the sequenced keyboard disco influenced Teach Me, and this is where the bands strengths really come to the fore, from the powerful and driving beats of D’Sa, and the wonderful mix of Lee’s pulsating keys and Naomi’s flute sounds, this is a real floor filler, mixing some great prog keyboard sounds with contemporary beats, a sound that no-one else out there is doing, and one which I’m sure will be come a staple of the bands live sets.
It’s a wonderful melting pot of ideas and styles, that blend seamlessly and that’s a testament to the band’s musical nous and skills of the individual musicians.
Some great keyboard riffs open up Disco Biscuit, another piece driven by D’Sa’s metronomic drumming, whilst the keys and flutes weave and twirl to create another banger as the kids would say.
Finishing off in fine style is a cover of Edgar Winters Frankenstein, a concert favourite and one which fits perfectly with the GU-RU sound, as Spreadbury and Perera dual with the keys and flute, over another driving beat.
GU-RU are redefining the crossover points between prog and dance, and as a worthy successor to their album Tales From the Ashram, this is perfect, combining and building on the band’s skills, and driving on the GU-RU sound.
There really is no-one out there like them currently.
Zenith’s Privilege is released on April 30th, 2021 and is available from: Music | GU-RU (bandcamp.com)
Lee Spreadbury – Vocals, Keys (Hammond M102 & Leslie 145, Moog Sub 37, Bentley Upright
Piano, Behringer MS-101, Korg SV-1, Mellotron, Roland Juno-6), Synth Bass.
Naomi Perera – Flute, Vocals.
Malcolm D’Sa – Drums.
Vincent Vetyver Spreadbury – Vocals on ‘Disco Biscuit’
2. Teach Me
3. Disco Biscuit