As stylish and captivating as ever, Melbourne two-piece outfit, GL have returned to the stage with their sophomore album, Touch. Saturated with a relentless funk and electro-pop vibe, we bop in retrograde to the blissful balminess that is Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson. Produced by Plastic-World records, ‘Touch’ is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, with syrupy sounds combatting a rude grit that promotes a sense of anchoring; GL are here to stay.
The first title on the LP, ‘Number One’, introduces us to GL’s latest, energising sound. With punchy synths and layered vocals, this track becomes a haven for nostalgia as we bask in the ’80s vibes and retro glory. ‘Indigo’ furthers our journey into a rediscovered sound as we enter something sweet, euphoric, and sad. Thompson’s honeyed vocals paired with thumping bass-lines creates a perfect combination of bliss and yearning as she croons “bring [love] back to us”. The intimacy in this LP is unwavering and is expressed differently in each track. ‘When Your Love Was Mine’ features echoic vocals and flowing beats to create a soft atmosphere filled with those nostalgic memories that we “think about all the time”. GL heat things up with ‘Hallucinate’ as they introduce a new, impassioned flame to their repertoire. Filled with a frisky funk and a new attitude, there is a sweet sense of confidence as the duo leap and bound in a new found pride.
The heat simmers down to a slow ache with ‘Grip’ as the dynamic duo deliver their playful track. ‘Grip’ acts a vehicle of desire, something strong and forceful with a ‘good grip’ as Thompson echoes “I want you to give back”. ‘Grip’ illustrates the differing intimate natures of the LP through something a little more demanding and vigorous. GL take a more pensive route with ‘Honey’, with entrancing riffs and lush synth, the duo reach into the corner of our minds and pull out a blissful, meditative energy. ‘Scully’ explores a darker side to GL’s LP with a shady beat and slow, wavering synth. Thompson’s sugary vocals are the only solace in this obscure soundscape, and as she warns “there’s something out there, something’s come to life”, the solemn aspect of the track is realised; and new territory has been explored. As the title suggests, a things brighten up a little with ‘Warm’. This track is a tale of appreciation and longing as Thompson probes the illusive nature of love and heartbreak with a desire to keep someone “warm at night”.
Employing a sense of fluidity, ‘Stars’ features flowing synth and resonating vocals which allow for us to become completely washed over by something completely invigorating. This track was one made for the dance floors, and will have you lost in complete obsession. Showcasing their expertise in analogue instrumentals, GL present ‘Contact’. This track is something of a different sort as its infectious rhythm takes over. The twangy riffs joined with electro-flute, and the soft sighs of Thompson creates something completely different, but so, so good. The last portion of the album showcases GL’s transformation as artists, and contributes yet another sense of intimacy through their ever-changing sound. ‘Cheap Shot’ and ‘Fall For You’ continue the idea of ‘Touch’ being an retro-boogie anthem in modern day music. ‘Cheap Shot’ is layered with the relentless funk that used to belong to previous generations, whilst ‘Fall For You’ makes us search for something a bit more serious. ‘Fall For You’ delivers waves of emotion to our ears and allows us to appreciate the duo’s flair in another, poignant dimension.
‘Body Language’ is a demand to be noticed, and don’t worry, GL we’re listening loud and clear. Filled with an insatiable boppiness and an incessant vigour, the audience becomes enraptured and mesmerised as Thompson reiterates ‘I don’t want to be your lover when you’re giving me the shoulder’. These powerful lyrics offer something grounding in a track that is so uplifting and yet again showcases GL’s diversified persona.
As the album progresses to its end, ‘Melanie’ appears as a track cut from a different cloth. Littered with airy and light tones, there is an unsettling sense of sadness that is woven through it. Messages of heartbreak and jealousy are made apparent through Thompson’s murmurs as she thinks about all the ‘other girls’. As Thompson admits her undying feelings, there is an air of closure, supported by a sombre beat and soft synths, and our experience comes to a sad, yet sweet end. GL’s style and flair are unmatched, their latest LP is an uplifting and exhilarating journey filled with the absolute highs, and complete lows of love and heartbreak. With a sound refined by retrospect, the funk found in the 80’s has been rediscovered, and will you all feeling touched.
Touch is availabke now via Plastic World Records.