EP Review: Gauranga – Miles Apart

Having recently caught and enjoyed local Bradford-Way guys Gauranga playing at the Huddersfield Parish, I was delighted to wheedle an advance sampler of the band’s new EP Miles Apart (released on 14 June 2019). This 6 track EP really shows a considerable jump in complexity and style for Gauranga and it truly is a recording for the guys to be proud of; whatever the future may hold.

As I’m sure many folks will be aware, Gauranga was a reincarnation of Krishna, and those that say the name Gauranga are blessed with good fortune and happiness. With an EP with this quality to savour, I can call out Gauranga and be happy.

I’m not a great fan of trying to come up with similar sounding bands for comparison (not least there’s a risk that the band that comes to my mind is some obscure outfit from the 1980’s). However, I think fans of the likes of The Kooks, Dry The River, and one of my favourite current indie heroes, roves, would not be disappointed by catching up with this Gauranga EP.

The band have told me the EP is a connected piece of music with an overarching theme which focuses on the struggles of distance and what the impact of being apart can have on a relationship. The EP certainly blows out real emotion as each of the individual songs on the EP rubs salt onto raw stories of the heart.

Title track Miles Apart starts with a nice crashing fuzzy riff and beat before settling into a neat bit of guitar weaving indie melody. The lyrics are rather clever, about being apart from a love and the pressures and guilt of perhaps getting close to another person while they are away. On this track I like the dueling contrasting rhythms of the guitars of Will Bolton and Alex Holdsworth, which are beefed up by the keys courtesy of lead singer Conrad Beriff, while the bass and drums of Henry Strangeway and Dillon Harrison sound tight and close to the heart of the track as they should be. Beriff’s vocals are almost softly choral in style and with the large landscape melody, the track rather reminds me of an updated Dry The River.

Another deliciously reflective track (dear reader, I seem to love wallowing in the relationship pain of others) comes with track Let Me Go, with another strong fuzzy guitar and the angst about whether it is better to split up with someone. Again I’m in awe of the split riffs of the dual guitars in the song and its well judged tight pace and phasing. Gauranga are an assured band who sound like they are on their 2nd or 3rd LP rather than their first EP.

Fallen was released just ahead of the EP and already has had a healthy number of hits on Spotify. This track has more of a reflective but still pacy feel to it. Of course, the lyrics are about falling head over heels in love. Back To Me is a re-recording of a previously released track, and has a emotional anxious pleading in the vocals and a heavy, fast drumbeat which makes it feel like the lead instrument on this track. I do have to say the recording and sound quality of the EP is excellent – there’s a great depth of sound – complete kudos to Gafro Studios in Elland.

Butterfly Brain closes the EP, and it is the second reworking on one of the band’s earliest released tracks. This is a dirty, stuttering monster of a song, which showcases the pure class and range of Conrad Beriff’s voice. This is a belter of a live track with its huge guitars and the guys do it full justice on this version.

As is often the way, it’s most fun to catch a band early on their career so you can enjoy watching their creativity and skill grow. I suspect there’s going to be oodles of pleasure for Gauranga followers, and luckily there are a few chances to catch up with these guys live this summer.

First up, is the EP release gig at the wonderfully down to earth Parish in Huddersfield together with Dead Wax and Allora on 17th June, there’s heat 1 of the Futuresounds Emerging Competition at Leeds Wardrobe on 20th June (with Mega Happy and The Sheratons), Routes Festival in Halifax on 22 June and Wakefield Weightless Festival on 3 August. Call out Gauranga….

Chris R

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