G P Hutchings’ music is very abstract. Which is not to mean that it’s difficult to understand – in fact its DIY vibe makes it very accessible. G P (Graham) Hutchings crafts part-ambient, part-pop songs that are anxious and ambiguous and assembles them under the impossible concept that is his EP’s title, Cleaner Dirt. The result is as frustrating as it is relaxing. You’ll relate to it as much as you’ll want to shake Hutchings from his misery and uncertainty.
Dividing up Hutchings’ two songs (with words) are instrumental tracks that share a similar cloud of reverberation. Eventually melting into its cohort “Rustproofing,” “Trading Habits” is made up of keyboard and drum machine work that gets toppled by a glittering guitar melody. On the heels of this feeling, “Rustproofing” tries to shine bright but is ultimately shrouded by the uncertainty of its lyrics. Done with a reedy voice, Hutchings grasps at a past full of regrets singing, “what was honeyed is now cloying and sickly sweet.”
Where “Trading Habits” is part of “Rustproofing,” “What About My Dying?” (great song title) is very much its own entity. Though ultimately too short, the time it does spend is done well as Hutchings drapes his electronic drum beat with pulsing bass synths, breezy guitar, and keyboard, creating a feeling that is less like dying and more like finding hope.
Though initially jarring, the poppy guitar throughout “Painted Brick” is a welcome change from the melancholy of Cleaner Dirt as a whole. In the opening lyric, Hutchings states, “it was mine to burn, I struck a match.” Echoing this declarative statement, Hutchings later sings, “I’ll quash doubt and learn to tout this person I became” and with it bringing an assertiveness to the song. With voice straining, he finally gains some confidence.
In one of the various questions that litter the EP, as heard in “Painted Brick,” Hutchings asks, “did I even leave a mark?” Of all his worries, G P Hutchings doesn’t have to fear that. He did.
Top Track: “What About My Dying?”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)