GET WELL SOON - "AMEN" //Virgin Music Germany// (Released 8th April 22)

£22.99

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£22.99 – 2xLP, Limited Edition Gatefold Vinyl

Amen crowbars in references to philosophers, novelists and therapists alongside quotes from self-help books, a treatise on tech-billionaires and allusions to some of the more extreme doctrines doing the rounds.

Matters like these dominate this magnificent record, but naturally in true Gropper style. Amen crowbars in references to philosophers, novelists and therapists alongside quotes from self-help books, a treatise on tech-billionaires and allusions to some of the more extreme doctrines doing the rounds. That all of this is overseen by an imperious, anonymous AI assistant is indicative of his wry nature – “OK,” she demands at the conclusion of the album’s grandiose overture, ‘A Song For Myself’, “this needs to stop right now” – and its extravagant musical nature will delight those already familiar with the 39-year-old’s inspired work as much as his perennially witty, literate take on his themes. “I called my musical project Get Well Soon,” he reminds us drily. “You mustn’t forget the service aspect of the whole thing.”

Amen is, nonetheless, constantly surprising: ‘This Is Your Life’ applies krautrock rhythms to sleek synthpop, ‘My Home Is My Heart’ develops into a Hi-NRG masterpiece which would give Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It’s A Sin’ a run for its money, and ‘Mantra’ concludes with luxurious dream-pop; ‘I Love Humans’ is an increasingly luxuriously orchestrated epic, ‘One For Your Workout’ offers shimmering up-tempo pop whose drums will delight those who recall Pat Benatar’s ‘Love Is A Battlefield’, and both ‘Chant And Disenchantment’ and ‘Golden Days’ pay loving tribute to the great producers of the 1960s and 1970s, among them Serge Gainsbourg and David Axelrod. The icing on the cake, though, remains one of the great voices of our time, a lavish croon imbued with a world-weary sense of bitter-sweet compassion, as comforting as an arm around the shoulder. For many of us, after the last couple of years, nothing could be more welcome.

“If there’s anything positive to be gained from this global tragedy,” Gropper says, “it’s that it’s brought truths to light. Mostly in a painful way, unfortunately, but this pandemic has nevertheless been instructive. Even in their wildest dreams, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists and ethicists could never have imagined such a case study, such an experimental set-up, for their papers, and they’ll certainly be drawing on these textbook months for a very long time to come. Questions have arisen that, in normal circumstances, would be far too melodramatic.”

Tracklisting:

  1. A song for myself
  2. My home is my heart
  3. I love humans
  4. This is your life
  5. Our best hope
  6. Mantra
  7. One for your workout
  8. Chant & disenchant
  9. Richard, Jeff & Elon
  10. Us vs. evil
  11. Golden days
  12. Accept cookies

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Format

2xLP Gatefold Vinyl