Actually Gay Men’s Chorus: Somewhere for me: CD Review:

Besi Besemar February 25, 2013

Actually Gay Men's Chorus
Actually Gay Men’s Chorus

‘£1 Million Record Deal’…. the headlines screamed. Sadly it was not to be, however the first gay chorus ever to be signed to a major record label haven’t given up.  Although the deal with Universal Records failed to release their debut album, it was recorded and the Actually Gay Men’s Chorus have now released it themselves.

Somewhere For Me, features covers from artists such as Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie and Neil Young.  The Chorus decided to change the name of the album to the first track of the same name, because it sums up how they all feel about Brighton & Hove.  This is the first time this track,which was written by Thea Gilmore has been recorded and released on disc.

Jason Pimblett, the musical director has created a choir with a unique sound; big and round, but in no way bottom heavy.

Somewhere for me
Somewhere for me

The album includes covers of Radiohead’s top 5 hit No Surprises, David Bowie’s No 1 hit Heroes, the melancholic Hurt originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails and later covered by Johnny Cash, the Ian McCullough album track, Playgrounds & City Parks and The Last Goodbye from the second album by UK indie boys, The Enemy.

The album also includes a previously unreleased song by acoustic singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore, the hauntingly beautiful and upliftingly triumphant title track Somewhere For Me.

Each song on the album is given a unique twist by the choir’s arrangements and performances. You know who is singing as soon as you hear a track. Their sound is unmistakable.

For this album, the Actually Gay Men’s Chorus have explored a completely new repertoire of material moving away from the material you might expect a ‘gay choir’ to sing. My only slight criticism is that the tracks are all a little similar, and while performance standards are undoubtedly very high, the album lacks a stand out track, which could work as a single. But that’s just me nit picking.

The choir’s diction is first class, articulation rhythmical, intonation throughout very secure and their awareness of their ensemble singing is quite brilliant. The arrangements are sophisticated, showcasing the main strength of the choir, which is their ‘big’ sound. Importantly, they never make the mistake of being too heavy in their lower registers.

On many of the tracks, the choir reach the highest level of interpretation and performance. They sing from the heart; I love listening to them and marvel in the standards they achieve on this recording.

My favourite track is No Surprises which presents male vocal singing at its very best, closely followed by Hurt and the beautiful innocent and anthemic arrangement of Playgrounds & City Parks. I dare you not to want to sing along with the track!

I highly recommend you buy the album and appreciate what is possible when an organisation believe in themselves and works very hard to be the best.

The Actually Gay Men’s Chorus was formed six years ago by John Hamilton and Jason Pimblett and comprises of around 30 singers. The aim of the chorus was to provide an alternative to socialising on the commercial gay scene, and to create a community for gay men to share experiences, have fun but most importantly develop and learn vocal abilities and embrace new styles of music.

The album costs £7.50 and is available at the Bulldog and Prowler in St James Street.

For more info click here:

Any proceeds made from the release of this album will be plowed back into the community through the Community Interest Company that runs the chorus and other community events.

•  Somewhere For Me (original song by Thea Gilmore)

•  The Last Goodbye (The Enemy)

•  Playgrounds & City Parks (Ian McCulloch)

•  Hurt (Nine Inch Nails)

•  No Surprises (Radiohead)

•  Heroes (David Bowie)

•  A Heart Needs A Home (Richard & Linda Thompson)

•  Let Me Be The One (Walter Trout)

•  God Loves Everyone (Ron Sexsmith)

•  After The Goldrush (Neil Young)