Album Reviews

Gecko Turner – Chandalismo Ilustrado

(Lovemonk) UK release date: 2 October 2006

Who, or what is a Gecko Turner? Is it a long forgotten 16th centurypainter? Is it a bygone profession involving spinning reptiles forpublic amusement?

Not quite. Gecko Turner is a Madrid based singer-songwriter who has been labelled “aninspiration” by Quantic‘s Will Holland. He’s one of Spain’s musical stars butunheard of outside.

Chandalismo Ilustrado is his second album and a gorgeous stew ofmusical meat. It’s an eccentric, eclectic mix of soul, R&B, afro funk,reggae, blues, latin and jazz (sometimes all at the same time!). Hisfirst LP featured a bewildering, but no less fascinating, cover ofSubterranean Homesick Blues that even Bob Dylan wouldn’trecognise and the offerings here are equally never dull.

A list of obvious influences could take up an entire site alone: Tryto imagine Beck, Dylan, D’Angelo, JoseFeliciano, Seu Jorge and Buena Vista Social Club alljumbled up in a cheeky mix and you’re still not close. Despite all theseinfluences he still manages to sound like nothing on earth. To use thetitle of one of his songs, he is best encapsulated by the term Afrobeatnik.

He sings in a mixture of Spanish, English and Portuguese, andcombined together it sounds like he’s singing in another language fromanother planet. The albums opener En La Calle, On The Street is abluesy track that replaces Dr John’s creole influences with ahefty dose of Latin spirit.As soon as that track is over we are confounded with the great Monosabio Blues- a track that wouldn’t seemout of place in the likes of Amp Fiddler‘s repertoire.

The album’s stand-out tracks are the cheekily laid backDaughterbitchin’ And Motherfuckin’ Style and the album’s closer SycamoreBlues, which achieves the major feat of topping everything the album hasdone before with some low-fi bluegrass excellence. If you hang around for long enough after it finishes you can even hear the strains of TheLion Sleeps Tonight fading away into the distance.

This is a cool collection of 15 playful songs that each seem totransport you away from dreary autumn drudge to an exotic lounge barwhere the cocktails and latte never end. So who is Gecko Turner then? Downright Daughterbitchin – that’s what!

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Gecko Turner – Chandalismo Ilustrado