By definition, a supergroup is a band made up of musicians who have garnered acclaim individually or as part of other groups. GAYNGS may fall short in terms of the acclaim bestowed on its members – most hold day jobs in critically adept but lesser-known indie acts – but what its members lack in reputation, the group makes up for in size.
A revolving cast of 25 players converge as GAYNGS on its debut, Relayted. Spearheaded by Ryan Olson and Solid Gold’s Zack Coulter and Adam Hurlburt, the collective grew to encompass Justin Vernon and Mike Noyce of Bon Iver; Joe Westerlund, Brad Cook, Phil Cook of Megafuan; and a host of other contributors who leave their mark on Relayted’s urban-rich flow. Balancing between R&B vibes and Prince-flavored rock-and-roll, the album is unmatched in its eccentricities and unsurpassed in its inventiveness. From the bedroom soul of “The Gaudy Side of Town” and its Wham! allusions, to the sparkling champagne keys and vocodor harmony of “The Last Prom on Earth,” the ‘80s and ‘90s have been reshaped in the able hands of this posse of bright musicians.
There are references to bygone eras, traces of former pop hits, and an abundance of grooves that are ripe for use as the backing cut on the next hit rap song, but GAYNGS use these familiar touch points as trimmings for an exploratory and inventive suite of colorful compositions, each track falling apart as it segues into the next. Relayted is endearingly familiar, but wtih a supergroup the size of GAYNGS, familiarity is simply a trailhead leading into the unknown.
Relayted is out now on JagJaguwar.