MGT - ‘Volumes’ (SPV/Oblivion) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Johnny H   
Friday, 24 June 2016 03:00

MGT VolumesMark Gemini Thwaite (for it is he behind the enigmatic acronym MGT) is a guitarist of some renown, having shared stages with the likes of Tricky, Gary Numan, Ricky Warwick, The Mission and Pete Murphy and recorded with such artists as PJ Harvey, Roger Daltrey and Alanis Morrisette. Yet after all of this ‘Volumes’ is his still his solo debut release.


As you would perhaps expect he’s of course brought a few of the key musicians he’s met along the way in to share in this fourteen song baptism of fire and if you thought the list of bands he’s been involved with already was eclectic then just wait until you get to read the special guests list on ‘Volumes’.


A cover of ABBA’s ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ (“A-ha!” sorry I couldn’t resist it) which was the lead track from the album also features perhaps the biggest current day rock name from that group of musicians in the (ghostly) shape of H.I.M’s Ville Valo, and this track actually sounds exactly like you would it expect it to sound with the former chain-smoking goth god’s vocals luxuriously dripping like candle wax all over it. It’s a decent enough attempt at reinventing a fabulous pop tune, but the involvement of an indie pop god is where the album starts to really get into gear via ‘You Can’t Go Back’ and a surprisingly husky sounding Miles Hunt. I don’t think I’ve heard the Wonderstuff man sound quite so vitriolic, not since the days of ‘The Eight Legged Groove Machine’ and Hup’, and the other two tracks he’s involved with (the anthemic ‘It Won't Take U Long’ and folky ‘Another Day Back’ where he is joined by Erica Nockalls) are pretty damn decent too.



In fact it is the strength of the songs on ‘Volumes’ that means it retains a cohesive sound rather than it being just a series of set pieces. It also helps that Mark Gemini Thwaite isn’t a self-centred show off on the guitar either and hence that is why fragile and beautiful tracks like ‘Star Struck Eyes’ (voiced by All About Eve’s Julianne Regan) can coexist with the gothic pomp of ‘The Reaping’ and somehow also come together as one on ‘Jesamine’ (Poetry & Ice). These last two tracks deserve extra special mention simply because in Ashton Nyte of South African band The Awakening I believe Mark Gemini Thwaite has his ideal singer. A man with a voice that is equal parts Andrew Eldritch and his old bandmate Wayne Hussey, and talking of the Mission man he actually turns up on a track too, the pulsating electro goth pop romp that is ‘Another Snake In The Grass’, which kind of reminds me of some of Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s solo material whilst also still carrying the unmistakable Hussey vocal hallmark.



Elsewhere Mark Gemini Thwaite’s current band mate Ricky Warwick chips in with an acoustic workout, ‘Drive And Forget’, whilst the legendary Andi Sex Gang conjures up a ‘Dark Storm’ to end the whole record. And if that wasn’t enough in-between all of that there are still performances by the likes of Raymond Watts of PIG, Saffron from Republica and Carlo Van Putten of German indie darlings Dead Guitars to both surprise and delight.


I’ve already mentioned that ‘Volumes’ has a very cohesive feel about it, something that in this age of single track downloads many full bands seem to struggle with and that togetherness has in part got to be down to the crystal clear and razor sharp production and mix from Tim Palmer who really has brought the very best out of the songs.


‘Volumes’ is simply one of the best solo albums you will ever hear from a guitarist that doesn’t feature wanky guitar solos. Try it, you will not be disappointed.


To pick up your copy of ‘Volumes’ – CLICK HERE