I, A Man: Gravity Wins Again- Let me introduce you to I, A Man: hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the four-piece created their own label, We Swimmers, on which they will release their debut album Gravity Wins Again on April 11. The 10-track album comes after three years of EP’s and some dedicated fundraising among them. I, A Man even took the time to press their own vinyl – impressive for an independent band whose first album is not yet released. All this no doubt shows the care and tact the band has for the music they put out.
Smooth bass lines, melancholic, bittersweet vocals and a driving force of drums carry throughout the album. The guitar has a tinge of romance to it; you can almost hear the passion and love I, A Man has for the music they produce. The album as a whole carries out as a complete thought – one track melts into the next, presenting itself as a skillfully planned exposé of the band’s skills. Gravity Wins Again has the rural, return-to-roots feel of a town on the outskirts of a big city where the album was written.
The album opens with ‘Fossils,’ which begins with deep vocals over quiet synths, pulling the listener in with innovative lyrics, “Now this paper tiger roams/ Brave-faced with no home.” As the first track of their debut album, ‘Fossils’ carries the weight of introducing the virgin listener to their sound; a sound that is consistent (though not overtired) throughout Gravity Wins Again. The second track, ‘In Time’ grows a bit repetitive lyrically and sonically, but carries through sweetly into the third track, ‘A Small Good Thing.’
The ambient, mellow sound of the first three tracks leads succinctly into the fourth track, ‘Minivan,’ one of the album’s strengths. The drums act in a more staccato fashion, a solid foundation to build the layers of guitar, bass and sweeping vocals of the remainder of the song. An echoing chorus fills the background, which all quiets down around halfway through, so the vocalist can be heard singing, “It wasn’t vengeful for the most part,” his Australian twang surfacing clearly. ‘Cold Feet Warmed,’ continues the more upbeat pace, drums increasingly faster, as if the music itself gains confidence of its quality as the album progresses.
The album’s seventh track, ‘Less Traveled,’ is perhaps the strongest track, the climactic peak of the album before its melodic descent back into the ambient melancholy from whence it came in ‘Fossils’. A return to the ambitious spirit of youth, as the vocalist sings over chiming percussion and strong guitar chords, “Lead me back here again/ To the house of my youth/ It’s here I find my eager eyes/ I keep ‘em open for changing times.” ‘Less Traveled’ is a testament to the journey of the independent band, and perhaps for any artist who struggles to get their foot in the door. This passionate, youthful spirit is heard throughout the album, in the careful construction of each track in relation to the album as a whole.
Gravity Wins Again closes with ‘Bandwidth,’ which begins with a sound reminiscent of a cross between Neva Dinova and Elliott Smith. A cyclical closing to the album, a definitive ‘end’ to the journey that began in a comparable spaced-out manner. ‘Bandwidth’’s gradual ascent into a post-rock jam (that then sounds more like a track off Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Methodrone than Dinova or Smith) leads into an ambient fuzzed-out sound, the vocals slowly fading out into the music that overwhelms them, as perhaps a testament to the band’s principal focus on sound over content. The song (and the album) end as they have begun – with one instrument and dream-like vocals.
With Gravity Wins Again, I, A Man proves their as yet perhaps unnoted potential, and hopefully will draw attention to their skill as songwriters and music makers. Their talent is without debate, evident from the first track to the last, and any in between. No doubt I, A Man is a band to keep an eye out for in their imminent future success…8.7/10