Electric Endicott - Gary Wilson (2010)
Electric Endicott was released on Western Vinyl in 2010, confirming that Gary Wilson is far more than an object of curiosity for rare record collectors coveting his early You Think You Really Know Me album. As he did earlier on the Stones Throw release Mary Had Brown Hair, Gary showcases his ability to inhabit both the realm of the avant-garde and that of (admittedly off-kilter) pop.
Start with: “Secret Girl” and “In the Night"
Why it’s worth revisiting: Though not at as immediately familiar to listeners as You Think You Really Know Me, Electric Endicott is worthwhile entry in the Gary Wilson canon, with at least three songs (“In the Night”, “Secret Girl” and “Where Did My Duck Go?”) well-known to fans, and peppered with worthwhile abstract explorations.
As with many Gary Wilson albums, Electric Endicott starts with a brief, abstract instrumental, titled “Linda Never Said Goodbye”. “Electric Endicott” immediately follows with the groovier side of Wilson’s work, featuring copious sung lyrical references to his childhood hometown, Friday nights, and love interests (Mary, in this case) on top of a rich and danceable bed of synths and guitars. The triplet-based pocket of “Where Are The Flowers?” sets the track apart from much of Wilson’s catalog, and is an album highlight. “Sandy Put Me On A Sick Trip” is a return to the realm of instrumental abstraction, paving the way for one of the home recording pioneer’s most well-known songs, “In The Night”. The track is certainly one of Wilson’s most inviting, with its hooky melody and multi-layered synths, guitars, percussion, and vocals all stacked atop a rock steady groove.
The jazz-tinged “Kathy Kissed Me Last Night” is perhaps the most compelling instrumental on the album, straddling the terrains of sophisticated jazz harmony and purposeful teetering, creating a sense that this beauty could all fall apart at any time. As the title suggests, “Swinging With Karen Tonight” is Wilson’s groovy tribute to yet another of his fictional (?) muses. Electric Endicott reaches another rewarding peak with the laid-back and catchy “Secret Girl”.
“The Clouds Cry For Endicott” is an instrumental jazz trio interlude (with all parts performed by Gary) in the style of “Kathy Kissed Me Last Night”.“Where Did Karen Go?” ventures into territory not unlike the earlier “In the Night”. There’s a refreshing clarity and up-front feel to “Lisa Made Me Cry”, which is surely one of the most accessible songs on the album. The eerily-titled “She Forgot To Lock Her Door” is brief, pure abstraction, while “Please Don't Break My Heart Today” is standard Gary Wilson fare, with its disco jazz-tinged pleas to a familiar cast of characters in the Wilson universe, including Mary, Kathy, Cindy, and – of course – Linda. The eccentric “Where Did My Duck Go?” is an inspired choice for an unexpected album closer and surely heartfelt for Gary, who has had several pet ducks over the years, including Ducky Do and Yogi.
Happy listening, weirdos!