Gyroscope is bringing something new to the table this time – and it’s not what you would expect.
Coming off the back of the #1 album Breed Obsession in 2008, complete with Gold certification and an ARIA nomination in tow, you would think that they would stick with what seems like a formula for success.
But for something to succeed you don’t need a formula – you need a solid foundation on which everything can be built. And few in music have set a foundation as strong as Gyroscope.
“The foundation is what we hold true to, whether it be the foundation of being around for a while or it be that we’ve done so much touring and travelling and seen so many things and met so many people,” singer-guitarist Dan Sanders says. “The band has become a backbone in each member. Each of us, our lives are almost all made up of playing in this band. It’s the foundation, the backbone, and we realise we’ve got to this point through this. And these opportunities don’t come around every day.”
It is this foundation that has produced the most cohesive album of their career, not sticking to the formula. And from this base shoots fourth album, the aptly titled Cohesion, a record with enough power to rock even the strongest stadium foundations.
And within Cohesion’s wonderful shades of light and dark, of pounding energy and delicate emotion, there’s an honesty that shines through. It’s the same musical honesty the four have built on since starting out in their early teens.
It is from the mere fact that the band formed when they were still at school, to the size of their enormous fan base built on more than a decade of releases and relentless touring, that the Perth rock quartet has shown that while nothing in music can be foretold, the right foundation makes anything possible.
The album came to life late in 2009, in the aptly named Rockfield – a picturesque town in Wales where Sanders, guitarist Zoran Trivic, bassist Brad Campbell and drummer Rob Nassif took to the grindstone with around 30 songs they’d spent the year penning.
They recorded in a studio of the same name, the oldest residential studio in the world. With an awe-inspiring history – including the recording of Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), What’s the Story Morning Glory (Oasis), and albums from Coldplay, Black Sabbath and The Stone Roses – it’s no wonder another epic, exceptional album was born within these legendary walls.
Surrounded by this bands history for amazing live acts, producing tracks that would be larger-than-life on stage was the main focus on this album, with the aim to construct an LP that sounded like a live set. And they have certainly delivered.
“We feel we’ve gone back to our roots and made the rock record we set out to make,” says Trivic. “We’re at our best when we’re playing live and that’s what people know us for.”
“People have seen Gyroscope can do a lot of different stuff, so we wanted to knock it home with what we can do live,” adds Sanders. “We’re a live band; that’s where we started. Cohesion isn’t heavy and crazy, but it’s more purposely built for touring. Someone will hopefully listen from beginning to end and say, ‘I can close my eyes and pretend it’s those guys playing the songs.’”
With the songs down to a mean dozen, Gyroscope nailed the perfect dynamic by recording live. Killer hooks and honest, assured song writing is laced with infectious energy and enthusiasm – a reflection of the band’s studio time. Meanwhile, Sanders tapped into a powerful simplicity behind the mic, simultaneously inspired by rock heroes like Kurt Cobain and his single-tracked vocals, to legendary Paul Simon and his delicate emoting.
Enter two weeks of preproduction with pivotal producer Gil Norton, the man behind band favourites like Foo Fighters’ The Colour And The Shape and The Pixies’ Doolittle. While Gil laid the perfect foundation, Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Gomez) mixed up a storm.
“Gil believes preproduction is the most important part of the record-making process,” states Sanders. “You get the foundation right and then you can try things afterwards, but you can always go back to what you had.”
With Norton often assuming the role of conductor, standing between the four and hand-signalling for extra drum fills or more meaty guitars, mutual respect of talent soon turned into the most rewarding recording experience of Gyroscope’s career. This is heard loud and clear on Cohesion, an album demanding to pick up where 2008’s ARIA #1 Breed Obsession left off.
“We’ve gone to other studios,” Sanders explains. “In LA we came out with a Hollywood sheen, and when we did Breed Obsession in the UK it was clean and beautiful. But there are still producers around who go for more of a live, old-school sound. Gil kept reminding us, ‘You want to make a rock album or what?’ and we were like, ‘Yeah!’”
“You don’t have to make it sound so big and pretty,” Sanders continues. “In a way the album is stripped-back, but Gil’s given it the oomph. It’s got what we wanted in body, but it’s also got the attack and energy of a live record.”
And their first line of attack? Get ready for Gyroscope’s live assault with Cohesion, it’ll be another killer.