Gilroy Mere – “The Green Line” Review

GILROY MERE – THE GREEN LINE (Clay Pipe Music) 2017

‘Clay Pipe Music’ is something of a sibling to ‘Ghost Box’, sharing as it does artists such as Jon Brooks. ‘Ghost Box’ isn’t for everybody with it’s throw back aesthetic to the old days of the ‘BBC Radiophonic Workshop’, but I couldn’t disagree more wholeheartedly with these detractors, as I believe they bring something fresh to the table, although I should like to see more releases in the vein of ‘The Mount Vernon Arts Lab’. The sixties – seventies design style created by company designer Julian House has been imitated by the likes of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper and is a joy to behold. Likewise ‘Clay Pipe Music’ has artwork and design by it’s own in house creator Frances Castle; the music a mixture of folk, neoclassical and ambient, gazes wistfully back to the post war years of hope and elation, tinged with the melancholy of a contemporary perspective. ‘The Green Line’ by Gilroy Mere takes us on a journey in the eponymous title’s bus, of a now defunct line. If you have already heard and liked Jon Brook’s “Autres Directions”, another journey album (that time to continental Europe by ferry), then this is a real treasure for your record collection.

Side A – ‘Dunroamin” begins with a bus conductor’s ringing of the bell and the vehicle pulling away. A beautiful intro with piano like synth lines and what sounds like vibraphone before breaking into a vocal magically invoking a journey with some warm fiddle playing. ‘Cuckoo Waltz’, evocative vocal chants with rhythmic ‘maracas’, the bus comes to it’s first stop. ‘RLH48’, a real beat takes hold of this track with some warm synth playing and the rhythm of rapidly turning wheels. Toot-toot at pedestrians as the bus goes along it’s way. ‘Hop Pickers’ is languid, slow piano like synth and what sounds like the ghostly sounds of a theremin. ‘A Lynchgate’, another languid track with piano/synth, recorder, vibraphone, somehow starts off reminding one of Trumpton, but quickly becomes something rather enchanting as side one winds down and vocals layer the final grooves of this long-player, the first part of the journey is over.

Side B – What one imagines to be the journey home opens with ‘I Can See the Sea From Here’, a breezy melodious track with slow guitar licks, awoken by the sound of a crashing ‘cymbal’ or electronic flourish, recorder, vibraphone enter play for a neoclassical festival. ‘The Green Line’, the track starts by taking the tempo even lower then really opens up with a synth line and guitar riffs beneath a heavy piano and minimalist vocals. The piano comes into it’s own with some wonderfully evocative passages, we are truly travelling through the country side far from the troubles of the city. A late minimalist minor masterpiece, in the vein of a transitional John Adams. ‘Moss and Yew’, Sadly all things must pass as this melancholy track intones but hey you can always play the record again and Gilroy Mere was just fooling with you as the last track testifies to, ‘Just Turn for Home’; the guitar and fiddle are in the fore with a synth line that mounts towards the end, an upbeat tune, home soon, kettle on to make a brew. The bus comes to a stop, then pulls away from the listener with a diminishing synth line and a chorus of bird song.

The Green Line by Gilroy Mere is available on site in very limited quantities – Vinyl LP