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Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore

Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore

For many, it has been long wait for Gallops' first full-length studio album. In fact, it's quite surprising for a group who have been in the public eye for so long, having already played major festivals throughout the UK for a good couple of years and also been throughly ballyhooed by the likes of the BBC. Although not much of the material on the album is new, it's fair to say that a full release from Gallops has been highly anticipated. So what have the Welsh quartet served up for us?

Yours Sincerely, Dr Hardcore comes in the form of ten tracks, some of which will already be known to Gallops fans. Opener 'Astaroth' starts well, enticing you in with a great synth line straight out of Blade Runner and some chirps and bleeps for good measure. Highlights for me include the jerky but groovy 'Window FX' and the frenetic 'Hongliday', which gathers pace and drive amidst the relentless percussion and riffage before dropping into a frankly epic piece of hard rock. Harmonically, Gallops walk a fine line between bleak 80s synth work and classic rock noodling. Dare I say it, but some of the licks, were they not in unconventional time signatures (almost a given on this record), are reminiscent of Iron Maiden and the like. I don't have a problem with this as such, but after a while I must confess to finding it all a bit grating.

Afrobeat has clearly not been lost on these guys either, with some of the rhythms plucked straight out of the Fela Kuti repertoire, like on 'Skyworth', which also features the trademark harmonised arpeggios framing the music. Gallops are clinical in their precision, driving the music forward with impressively crisp grooves and overdriven instruments.

Musically, this album is immersive and satisfying. Drummer Dave Morait deserves credit for the way he plays, maintaining driving, dynamic rhythms throughout this record. It's very technical but also reserved and precise, never feeling flashy. The overall cocktail, however, lacks real depth beyond the adept musicianship. I do like the melodic aspect of the band, but despite its "experimental" headline, I find Gallops surprisingly bland. On the one hand, we have the obvious technical ability of the group, reigned in so as to not overcomplicate the music, but on the other we have music that lacks the spark that Gallops obviously have the potential to harness.

It won't distract me from other records for very long, but Yours Sincerely, Dr Hardcore is definitely worth a listen, and I don't believe this is the last of we'll hear of Gallops.

G is for Jaile by GALLOPS
by Now Then Sheffield