The story of GAVIAL began nearly 15 years ago as a project adapted from a Nirvana song and pun as “Two Red Boys”. Three albums as TOURETTE BOYS, two collaborations with UK-based blues musician Tim Holehouse and a split EP with label mates Gaffa Ghandi later, the band played countless gigs and tours with bands like Acid Mothers Temple, Dyse, Gaffa Ghandi, The Skull, True Widow and Sleepy Sun. This musical project is based on friendship despite the fact that the musicians live in different cities. The vast and untouched landscapes between Berlin and Dresden may have contributed to the inspiration for the sound of the band, which repeatedly tries to ground Psychedelic abstraction in modern blues. The result is more reminiscent of the desert rock that we know from the vastness of Arizona than the urban hustle and bustle in big cities. Shimmering soundscapes, partly dark and melancholic, then again full of hope and glaring light filled with the comforting, but nonetheless ominous heat of the desert – GAVIAL remain true masters of that.
Wait…GAVIAL? Tourette Boys? It’s 2023 and it’s time for a turning point. And that on three different levels. With VOR, the band’s fourth album is for the first time distributed on a label – Exile On Mainstream. For the recordings in 2022 the band grows from a trio to a quartet. And with that move comes a name change that was long overdue, which the band explains by stating:
However, in the last few years, we frequently discussed our music, videos, and name and tried to reflect on our decisions during that time. Concerning the name of the band, we have come to the decision that it is no longer appropriate to continue using it. Affected people deserve respect and we think that this band name shows a lack thereof. For that, we want to apologize.
GAVIAL weaves musical inspiration from Ambient, Soul, Gospel and Country into different threads from a carpet of sound that simply ignores the sharp cliffs of redundant categories such as Retro or Stoner. The music doesn’t need name dropping, but if you still want to make room in your thematically sorted record shelf, you’re welcome to make some room in the compartments in which you put your Screaming Trees, Flying Eyes, Black Crowes or Woodcocks, so that GAVIAL can find space in them. Sorted alphabetically, Gavia also cuts a fine figure between Gaffa Ghandi, Geraldine Fibbers and Giant Sand.
Lyrically, GAVIAL are cautiously concrete, exploring the ambivalent depths of the soul where there are more questions than answers. Singer Benjamin Butter intones lyrical sketches of emotional states between melancholy, quiet anger and hope, reminiscent of Charles Baudelaire, and turns the voice into another instrument. The interplay with driving bass lines and Americana-esque guitars results in music as it should be: melodic but not profane, accessible but with a fragile base.
GAVIAL released the following record on Exile On Mainstream: