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Gary Dranow - When The World is Too Much (Remix) (self-released)

1 April 2024

Listening to Gary Dranow’s ongoing output is akin to peeling the various layers of an onion. No, that’s not quite right. The onion’s successive layers are all the same as you work your way down. Okay, how about saying that it is like peeling the layers of an onion, but one where each of those layers has a different shape, size, and hue and a distinctly different flavour? The onion also seems to have no end and no predictable sequence. Gary Dranow is, pardon the odd expression, my kind of onion.

His latest track, “When The World Is Too Much”, is a layer of that musical Allium Cepa that I haven’t encountered before. A piano-driven ballad but with his trade-mark bluesy salvos threaded through, it sees him at the more understated end of the musical spectrum, a delicate balance of the spacious and the driven, the underplayed and the anthemic, a sonic journey that, for all its apparent restraint, ebbs and flows across ever-changing, ever-rising, ever-surprising soundscapes.

Lyrically, it seems him at his heartfelt best. Perhaps a song based on the idea that it is in the arms of a loved one that you seek refuge when the world seems a difficult and unforgiving place might not seem that original. But, as always, his musical deftness and astute lyrical choices breathe new life into the form.

I have said it many times before, but it is certainly worth repeating: Gary Dranow is a surprising and unsecondguessable artist. They say that variety is the spice of life. If so, that spice probably has a lot of onion in its delicate and delicious mix. Sorry, I’ve taken that analogy beyond its logical conclusion, but you know what I’m trying to say here.