GECKO – Climbing Frame

There’s a song on this album about the true story of a Russian stray dog who went into space in the 1950’s. It’s a synth-driven tour de force, which is darkly humorous at times but also fairly sad, seeings that the lyrical content finds the listener empathising with an animal who didn’t have a choice in her fate or know what was about to happen to her (she died). Don’t we all feel like this at the moment? Don’t get me started. Anyway, it is this ability to spin a yarn that makes Gecko AKA London-based artist, Will Sanderson-Thwaite, so endearing, though it’s his power to evoke an emotional response in what most would regard as the most ludicrous of subject matter that sets him apart from his contemporaries. Grief, romance and hope dance with themes of social commentary; though the words may not always appear relatable, it doesn’t matter because the feeling is.

His second release, ‘Climbing Frame’ may appear comedic on the surface, jaunty and poppy even, yet, while Gecko has shared a stage with Ed Sheeran, the guitar-led, white-man-rap comparison thankfully ends there. When we reviewed his debut offering ‘Volcano’, we said the same thing – Will’s song-writing is clever and, though he could easily charm a crowd watching at Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, his integrity places him in a tent powered by a man pedalling a bicycle at 3am – where everyone knows the best acts are waiting to be discovered. Moving through his material like a natural live setlist, Gecko uses soft spoken-word, fun rhythm, swooning female backing vocals and simple instrumentation to create a compelling aural feast. From the subtle sarcasm of ‘Can’t know all the songs’ (about the inevitable heckle to play a cover version of the crowd’s favourite – and predictable - requests) to the textured contemplation of tracks like ‘Soaring’ (covering the life of an elder in a care home but throwing in an appearance of some pheasants), all that’s left to say is that what Gecko creates is the perfect antidote to face masks, hand sanitiser – hell, the whole of 2020. And thank fuck for that.

Anna C

Released 23rd October 2020
Available here