When future historians and critics come to review the artistic output of 2020/21 (and believe me they will: they will go over it with a fine tooth comb), they will try to establish a theme for the period. I firmly believe that they will come to the opinion that the theme is one of escapism.
Escapism comes in many forms. With their debut single Loose Canyon – Leicester band, The Gabriels explore this theme, with a view to travelling back in time to a seemingly more simple time and place. That time would be the late 1960’s, and the place would be Laurel Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains of California.
The Gabriels are Gudg (vocals), Fran Feely (bass), Leon Jones (guitar), and Stuart Gray (keys). Loose Canyons also features Robyn Gibson of The Junipers on backing vocals. The band cite their shared love of the Laurel Canyon scene as one the reasons they came together, but after listening to their debut single that’s a fact that really does not need stating.
If The Gabriels were able to successfully complete their time-travelling feat and arrive at the outskirts of Los Angeles during the ‘First Summer of Love’, then they would almost certainly be living in the less folky, more psychedelic end of Laurel Canyon… next door to Roger McGuinn or David Crosby would be ideal.
Loose Canyon is a song full of delicate, layered blends of gently swirling acoustic and electric guitar riffs, mellow tambourine-infused rhythms and subtle vocal harmonies. It has a genuine late 60’s psychedelic feel to it. You can smell the tasseled brown suede jackets and taste the paisley shirts.
Gudg’s vocal delivery is soft and graceful, never showy or loud, and is a perfect fit for with the music. She sings about wanting to escape from England to become part of a movement, wanting ‘to be part of the Canyon Scene’, and be able to take ‘trips to The Troubadour again’. The Gabriels would not be out of place in West Hollywood.
On the evidence of Loose Canyon, The Gabriels sound contains heavy influences from the sounds of both the first and second ‘Summers of Love’. Perhaps, after all we’ve been through, we are ready to escape to a third. The Gabriels will be up front.
If you’re a fan of The Byrds, Teenage Fanclub, or The Lemonheads, then do yourself a favour and give The Gabriels Loose Canyons a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Peace and Love.