The World Next Door – Long Con Turtle Stack

Scott Gray is working on a new album. To be clear, he’s been working on it since before the 2008 financial crisis. The delay has nothing to do with money, nor is it particularly catastrophic. He’s just a bit of a procrastinator (his word, not mine).

This is not to say that he’s unproductive. In fact, his most recent technique for avoiding work on his new album was to record a new album. A different one, called Long Con Turtle Stack.

Released today, the 14-track disc features an electroacoustic collection of guitar and whatever other “instruments” he found close at hand. The term is to be understood loosely. There are kitchen utensils and such at work here.

The song titles are similarly conventional. “Drain Your Brain, You Won’t Need It On The Other Side As Long As The Skull Looks Good” is a particular favourite. “Why Am I a Platypus This Time?” and “Suck It, Eagle Beak, I’m Taking the Side Exit This Time” are two other stand-outs. His liberal use of commas and inconsistent capitalization in his song titles positively reeks of rebellion. (Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic.)

The music itself – full of quirky personality and improvisational structure – is worth your time. Gray is that rare thing these days: a genuinely unique artist.

His playing is polished and he pulls real musicality out of his home-made collection of instruments. Songs like “Transfused” and “Irkalla Ikea” are sophisticated and beautifully produced.

That this was recorded in Gray’s Hamilton, Ontario basement is a testament to both his resourcefulness and talent.

Kevin Press

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