Gary Kemp is to me one of these “I am sure I know this guy, but I don’t know from which band”-artist. With Spandau Ballet, he became a super-star of the music business. On 16th July 2021, after a break-up of the band, he went solo paths. Without Tony Hadley and his bandmates, he released his second album as an individual artist on 16th July 2021. The album is simply called INSOLO. A nice side-note, by the way: Spandau Ballet is supporting the album with social media presence on their accounts – no fights between the band members!
Gary Kemp – About The Artist
Gary Kemp was born in London on 16th October 1959. He is not only a member of Spandau Ballet but in fact the key musical head of the band. All major success songs by the act, including songs like Gold or True have been written by Kemp. He is thus the key responsible that Spandau Ballet sold over 25 million units. Kemp, however, is not just a musician, but also very successful as an actor. Already during school times, he was part of a band as well as of a drama group. INSOLO is in fact his second solo album, as he already released Little Bruises in 1995.
Gary Kemp – INSOLO – Track by Track
The eleven songs album lasts 52 minutes.
1. In Solo
Gary Kemp starts his second solo release with what you likely may call the title track. In Solo starts as a rather slow piano and strings song, but then also develops very energetic moments, including some really nice electric guitar parts. This leads to a very majestic and impressive start of the album – not just because the 6:23 minutes almost feel like a little rock-pop symphony.
2. A Rumour Of You
Even though the story and the plot of A Rumour Of You is very different to In Solo, you feel that their general concept is similar. Gary Kemp wants to tell his songs – and if takes a bunch of minutes, that’s just what the thing is alike. The rather rhythmic character of A Rumour makes it feel rather pop-ish, but some parts also come with a groove which reminds me of funk and soul. Great production.
3. Waiting For The Band
Waiting For The Band is one of the tracks on the album which have been released before the album. Again, Gary Kemp takes sufficient time to built the song towards the climax. At the point where where mainstream radio productions are already fading out, Waiting For The Band reaches its climax with choir-alike vocals and nice guitar play. The second half of the song then also introduces very smooth sax sounds. Reserve these five and a half minutes of your life and give yourself an enjoyable listen.
4. Ahead Of The Game
Be aware and listen from the very first second – this one is short! Just kidding, but Gary Kemp does not even allow this song to exceed the four minute mark. I like the rhythmic work and bass groove of this single release, which could have a great chart success in former times. Again, Kemp uses a wide range of instruments to create a full sound – this time with a continous, catchy main theme.
5. I Remember You
The fifth song of the album comes with the a nice Latin music style groove. The song is rather slow and comes with a very personal touch. The chorus may be a bit too emotional, but it simply stays in your ear.
6. Too Much
Too Much is the songs which reminds me of Spandau Ballet most. As I loved their songs and also have seen a few shows of them, you won’t be too surprised that I absolutely love this sixth track.
7. The Fastest Man In The World
Gary Kemp is presenting a really nice melody line in this song. The song is breaking and changing its character multiple time – from a pop track with even some synth pop elements to a piano ballad with kitschy strings in the background to rocking elements, which even remind me of Southern rock. At some parts, these changes are just a bit too much for me.
8. I Am The Past
The genuine I Am The Past feels a bit of frightening to me. Hope that the track is not too autobiographic. Almost feels a bit of depressive. The song, however, is beautifully arranged and is a really nice listen.
9. The Feet Of Mercury
In case you listen to the album and dislike The Feet Of Mercury – the good message is that it is the shortest track on the album. I personally would not call it a dislike from my side, though. However, I have to admit that it is a song which I just don’t manage to relate to as good as I do with most other tracks of INSOLO.
10. The Haunted
The last one of the epic songs on this album. The Haunted lasts six minute and comes with this genius plotting and songwriting of other long songs of the album. Different sections of the track with very different characters lead to an(other) very entertaining listen.
11. Our Light
Our Light is an impressive finale of these eleven songs by Gary Kemp. Very energetic, again working well with suitable instrumental and vocal elements. Beautiful listen.
Gary Kemp – INSOLO – Spotify
Here is INSOLO on Spotify:
Gary Kemp – INSOLO – My View
Thanks, Gary! While I listened to INSOLO the first time, I felt it is a really nice solo album – but the more I got into it, the better I perceived these eleven points. There is so much on point and close to perfection. Even though I miss Spandau Ballet (who split up in 2019), this artist is just too good to be dependent on other band members. Great album!
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