A Short Course in Long Term Happiness

Gamma Ray Sam
Released on 31st October 2006

Reviewed by Mark Langshaw

From the off it is abundantly clear that A Short Course in Long Term Happiness is a very personal work. The album begins on a downbeat note with melodically, melancholic number A Romantic Hanging, but there is more to Dom Bryan than wistful drudgery. Awkward Situation begins as a gentle acoustic ballad, before exploding into an explosive epic, while Singing to Myself finds the band exploring the other end of the emotional spectrum with some buoyant blues-rock.

Gamma Ray Sam display a diverse range of influences, Wilco being the most obvious. During their minimalist moments Mark Knopfler’s Cannibals spring to mind, as does early 90s Britpop when the band veer towards rocky territory.

There is much more on offer here than alt-country usually boasts. The melodies are often transcendent in their grace and style, complimented by gentle guitar work, subtle piano chords and bouncy drumbeats. What better accompaniment for a personal journey such as this one?

As emotionally complex as this record is, it is incredibly difficult to connect with. A Short Course in Long Term Happiness is at times as personal as music can be, making it difficult to relate to and interpret. In spite of this, the album is very intelligently written and composed, and that alone makes it worth a listen.

Visit website: www.uncleslack.co.uk
For clips from the album and links to its iTunes page, visit: www.last.fm/music/Gamma+Ray+Sam/A+short+course+in+long+term+Happiness

To read an interview Mark Langshaw had with Dom Bryan click here

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