Fresh from co-headlining a tour with VV Brown, and currently supporting Take That around the stadiums of the UK, Gary Go has carved out a profile for himself. But his self-titled debut album only disappoints.
First track Open Arms starts well. Immediately Go’s vocals bring Justin Currie of Del Amitri to mind. But as verse turns to chorus it all falls apart. Similarly a few of the songs that come with the starting point of a good melody, somewhere get lost. Every track feels uninspired and forgettable. Sticking at a mid-tempo pace the album drags.
There’s undoubtedly a market for it, but where the likes of Go’s would-be peers Maroon 5 and The Script have backed up their MOR output with at least some invention or emotion, Gary Go the album offers neither and doesn’t feel authentic. It’s interesting to note that, despite a forceful nudge from the hype machine, his debut single, the woefully boring Wonderful, only charted at Number 25. Maybe this mass-produced singer-songwriter shtick is a thing of the past.
Go’s voice does have a nice tone to it but, coming from Wembley, even the touches of London that emerge through his dropped letters feel clich�d. In his favour, once we’re past the opening few dirges, the second half of the album really picks up with some of the tracks showing some promise – the string-laden Brooklyn and album highlight Heart And Soul both have some nice touches that hint that he does have a bit of depth to him, while Refuse To Lose has some unexpected powerhouse female backing vocals and the multi-dimensional ballad Speak impresses. But even when a tune briefly catches the listener’s attention, there’s no disguising the pitiful lyrics.
Time and time again we’re confronted with meaningless rhyming couplets. His attempts to be emotive or inspirational sound just wrong. It’s difficult to assess whether the whole process is a cynical ploy to cash in on the Beautiful Day type of songwriting that aims for the lucrative advertising and compilation album market, or whether it’s all genuine. But ultimately, even putting Gary Baker’s decision to rechristen himself with his new ridiculous name to one side for now, there really isn’t much to recommend from his first album.