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Album Review: Gossip – Real Power

3 min read

Three piece indie band Gossip return, after reforming, to release their sixth studio album Real Power, under Columbia records, in what (according to an interview with lead singer Beth Ditto) originally was meant to be a solo album recording session at legendary producer Rick Rubin’s home studio in Hawaii.  Following a temporary unification for the Music For Men 10-year anniversary tour, Ditto invited former band members Nathan Howdeshell and Hannah Blilie to get some creative juices flowing for her solo album, and, with a the recording session that straddled the COVID-19 lockdowns, the solo album turned into the reformation of Gossip, and that was that – new album recorded and released!

Stepping straight into Gossip’s latest LP submission, Act of God kicks off with a bang!  Elements of late 60 psychedelic vibes (through use of a Theremin, I assume), hard rocking beats and Beth Ditto wailing at full power, this opener holds no prisoners – start to finish full throttle.  This is followed aptly by title track and second single release Real Power, which has a real electro, funky vibe in both the verse and chorus, where catchy electric bassline to perfectly support Beth Dittos powerful vocals, which are in full effect, whilst subsequent track Don’t Be Afraid continues at a slower beat, with great vocal pitch changes throughout the track and fantastic musical intervals.  This acts as a precursor to first release Crazy Again, which has a great mesh between electropop & indie rock and Ditto showcasing her higher pitch, almost angelic voice.  Stepping into a quasi-homage to an Ibiza chill out track, Edge of the Sun is a nice mix of synth and guitars, and is as much of a sun is out, by the pool track Gossip have released, and I love it!

Picking up the second half of the album, Give It Up for Love has a fantastic funk bassline which draws vague comparisons to Queen’s 80’s classic Another One Bites The Dust, whilst Turn the Card Slowly feels more like an early-era, down tempo, light indie track.  Moving on to Tell Me Something, we are greeted with some dirty synth bass, mixed with piano and Beth’s soulful voice.  This track adds great balance to the album – it has a refreshing rawness to it, as does Light It Up, with its light, folky pop edge, and Tough, a track where lead and rhythm guitars take centre stage, ably supported by Ditto’s fantastic vocals. Rounding off the album is Peace and Quiet, the closest thing we have to a ‘slow dance’ track, where Beth showcases the fragile side of her voice, and a fantastic way to finish the proceedings.

What can I say about Real Power?   The album really does start with a bang then starts to wind down from around halfway, but that is not to say fizzle out, as whilst most of the tracks that will go on to be hits are in the first half of the album, some of my favourites are found later on.  As an album itself, I find it flows well, and feels like someone actually cared about track placement.  There are some tracks that don’t really feel like Gossip tracks, but because of the track listing you’re perhaps more open to them than if it was just haphazardly cobbled together.   I think there is enough in this album to keep both Gossip die hards and cynics interested (if they care to look)– which is not an easy feat!