So, I got sent the Mike
Gatto release to review because Glitzine covers Butch Walker and Gatto, a nineteen
year old solo artist from the north east of England, kinda does the Butch thang.......and,
y'know, if you squint your ears, close your eyes, stand on one leg, rub your
belly and tap your head, you might just see the connection.
For those of us old enough to remember a band called Southgang - with three marvelous musicians and a long-forgotten vocalist - it might come as a bit of a stretch to place Gatto in Butch Walker territory. If, however, you are one of those US college girls who inhabit Walker's gigs and seem to know every word to every song, then this connection might hit home to you like a smack in the face from an unhappy lover. Gatto does the justified and stripped thing but somehow lacks the lyrical genius, probably as a result of still being in his teens - writing about the trials of life certainly seems easier after you've done some living. This shouldn't be confused with lack of talent though as that, in its rawest form, appears to be coursing through his veins.
On more upbeat tracks like 'The Ship That Conquered The Boat' and 'A Guilty Kind Of Pleasure', images of straw cowboy hat wearing indie types waving their glowsticks about at muddy festivals spring to mind - for the less khaki listeners, the attempts at haunting may not truly haunt but certainly do enough to pick at the scab. The stripped back songs 'Unsewn' and 'Phonebox' have the potential to cause young ladies in student union bars to get dewey-eyed over their dissertations long enough to forget about which rapist-filled country is the destination for their inevitable gap year. The standout track for me is 'Candlelit Romance' which is a not too subtle attempt at doing Tori Amos with a penis - ummm....not too sure if that came out right! - but without the kookiness.
Mike Gatto is a talented young fella, that's for sure. Stranger things have happened than someone like him making a real dent in this business. He possesses that raw talent and appears to have more than a clue in regards to doing something with it. He has the looks too - his pout appears to be as adored as his songs - but with that feathered haircut, he reminds this aged listener of Hawk from Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. That might mean nothing to teenagers but, for this weathered creature, it is funnier than a gig in Hirwaun.
by Gaz E.
Visit the Mike Gatto Website