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GABI GARBUTT has cut her teeth in the tried and tested manner. Knocking about in various guitar bands, including a stint with sadly ignored London combo CuT, along the way she’s met up with industry insiders such as Libertines sticksman Gary Powell and studio owner Sean Read.
Garbutt, it seems, is capable of making things happen.
Read figures prominently in the Illuminations set-up. A sought-after session player who’s worked with Beth Orton, Kevin Rowland’s Dexys and Edwyn Collins, he’s not only a key player in putting her band together but also the producer of this tantalising debut.
Bold and brassy, The Fool and This Higher Place recall the northern soul pastiche of Dexys as they launch this fully fuelled and pacey 12-track album.
A socialist crusader and committed Corbynista, Garbutt’s lyrics demonstrate a reflective, introspective nature as Armed with Love and Reason to Believe turn the gear down a notch.
“The world is pretty shit right now. I like to write about the importance of human connection amongst all of this,” she says of her songs, “finding beauty and focusing on what’s meaningful as an act of defiance against the brutality of modern life.”
The bouncy appeal of the tracks does, however, battle with a dry production. The benefit is that it allows every layer of the instrumentation to be identified and her lyrics to be perfectly picked out and that’s OK when perhaps the incentive is surely to happen upon bigger and better things. But it does leave the listener yearning for a few sonic peaks and tweaks.
Lady Matador makes for more punkier thrills and This Higher Place channels the raw, visceral power of 1950s rock’n’roll, showcasing a versatile band capable of dishing out the whole spectrum of flavours.
Gabi Garbutt and the Illuminations are no chancers and, via a decent enough debut, the stars could well now be in alignment for a glowing career.
The Discredited Language of Angels is released by Music As Insurgent Art.
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