When they were young, back in their salad days of 1994, the boys and girl of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci released a single with the catchy title "Merched Ynneud Gwallt Eu Gilydd." A joyous collision of Sonic Youth-ful noise and Welsh lyrics abruptly interrupted by a brief spoken word refrain ("There's no need to worry," assures one voice. "Why is that, Stevie?" asks another) before giving way to an unabashedly McCartney-esque chorus that betrayed the bandmembers' age ("Because we ain't got school in the morning"). "Merched" was the perfect distillation of the early Gorky's aesthetic -- genre hopping that often included wizards, lizards, and prog-ish chord changes, a gift for melody, and a youthful joie de vivre normally reserved for Hanson records. But frontman Euros Childs, his sister Megan, and their ever-revolving cast of collaborators have grown up, and now nostalgia for worry-free, school-less days informs their work. This theme first appeared on the band's fourth album, Barafundle, four years ago, and the more the band yearned, the more it streamlined its sound, eschewing noise and odd instrumentation in favor of timeless pop. By the time last year's The Blue Trees EP appeared, Gorky's had gone unplugged entirely. The Blue Trees was fingerpickin'-good and all, but it seemed the band had lost its edge altogether. How I Long to Feel That Summer in My Heart, Gorky's seventh album, is practically a concept album about the bittersweet nature of nostalgia -- specifically, nostalgia for, you guessed it, summer. From the Muswell Hillbillies-era Kinks vibe of "Can Megan" (dig the boozy brass!) to the sleepy but uplifting "How I Long," reminiscent of the Velvets' "Candy Says." "Her Hair Hangs Long" ("seasons come and they may go/promise me our love isn't so"), one of the few moments when Gorky's lets its freak flag fly, begins as a happy hoedown before an ominous violin freakout emphatically ends the summer and the relationship -- but not the album. How I Long concludes with the jazzy horns and Abbey Road-worthy harmonies of "Hodgeston's Hallelujah," on which Childs wonders, "what happened to your daughter/everybody loved her." It seems the girl whose hair hung long didn't long for that summer nearly as much as Childs, which is too bad -- she missed out on the Ray Davies of the turn of the century; a rocker who grew into a pop craftsman of the highest order.
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AllMusic Review by Torey Marcus