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Gramercy Arms - F*cked Up and Beautiful (Magic Door Record Label)

5 May 2023

I can’t think of another artist to ping on my radar in recent months that has so readily quenched my thirst for deftly wrought, quality pop songs as Gramercy Arms has. (Well, I can think of one, but let’s not make this review all about him.)

Following on the heels of previous singles, “Yesterday’s Girl” and “Tricky Love Stuff”, and with the full album, Deleted Scenes, now out, “F*cked Up and Beautiful” continues the rollout of fantastic music. If third singles from albums are sometimes the point where the quality of the release often starts to waver, then Gramercy Arms certainly didn’t get the memo.

Not only is it a gentle, infectious, and indeed, gently infectious song, it is the vehicle for some fantastic lyrics; anyone who doesn’t see that the opening lines, “Back in school she lived so decadently / She took literature and LSD are up there with the best of them is probably someone that I probably can’t be friends with.

Maybe it is an age thing, for although the music that Gramercy Arms make is nothing if not the shot in the arm that modern pop music needs, those of us old enough to remember will hear the faint echoes of the 80’s new pop, high water mark. Thoughts turn to the likes of The Go-Betweens, Nick Lowe, Lloyd Cole (who core band member Dave Derby has worked closely with), and the often underrated Lilac Time’s pastoral pop poise. Hitting that last benchmark is high praise indeed in my world. (And if you are reading this review, which you clearly are, welcome to my world.)

If you already own a copy of Deleted Scenes, and why wouldn’t you, then this is just a reminder of what a great band Gramercy Arms is. If you don’t yet have it, this is a stark reminder of what you are missing out on. And, of the latter is the case, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself but rest assured, it isn’t too late to make amends and grab this fab and groovy waxing. Do that, and we can still be friends.

Deleted Scenes LP
Tricky Love Stuff
Order / stream the single
Yesterday’s Girl – Magic Door Session