Hiding in Winchester is Mike Gale, one of the UK’s brightest song writing talents. Recording under the name Co-Pilgrim, Plumes is the act’s third album of beautiful alt-country and is once again packed full of Beach Boys harmonies and Pernice Brothers/ Teenage Fanclub melodies. It’s a gem, as was his last album A Fairer Sea, which sat on a pile of CDs at Neonfiller.com towers shamefully way past its 2013 release date and reviewing opportunities. Apologies Mike, we loved it.
The experience of A Fairer Sea with us, a small music blog made up of volunteers, shows how difficult it is for those like Gale to get attention. If we couldn’t find time how are the big boys in the music press going to? A Fairer Sea was arguably one of the albums of the year but barely anyone heard it and despite knocking around social media for years Co-Pilgrim can barely muster 1,000 followers across Facebook and Twitter.
So when I say hiding in Winchester, he’s not hiding at all. He’s doing his best to get attention, has a PR firm and crucially is producing great stuff. It’s more the music listening public is hiding from him.
So what is everyone missing? Plumes follows on perfectly from A Fairer Sea, which featured Ride’s Mark Gardener on producing and backing vocals duty, in retaining Gale’s neat trick of taking melancholy and turning it into something joyous.
Opener Grew Into Something New sets the scene wonderful, slide guitar and harmonies swiftly taking the listener from pessimism through to optimism. I Know Love and Pushover pack a pop-punch full of west coast shine, while Come out Alive provides a thoughtful slow twinkle to proceedings. Other highlights include Shame On You with its English take on Americana.
Will Plumes help him find a bigger UK audience? I hope so but its confusing release schedule suggests Gale is once again struggling to get the audience he deserves. The album was in fact released with little fanfare in the UK in May but an album launch party venue couldn’t be found until July. A third attempt at UK publicity is now taking place this month to coincide with a US and Europe release.
It is clearly tough for Gale to push his head above the parapet, but he has what so many others don’t have on the UK music scene – genuine talent. Fingers crossed.
by Joe Lepper
For more information about Mike Gale and Co-Pilgrim visit here.