POLAROID SUITCASE

THE DEBUT ALBUM BY GARY LE STRANGE
OUR VERDICT: "The Greatest Album Ever Made"

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GARY LE STRANGE
POLAROID SUITCASE

BALLERINA
I'M JAPANESE
SEX DUMMY
PRINCE CHARLES
IS MY TOASTER SENTIENT?
GEOMETRY
INDIVIDUALS
GREY

So here it is at last…
The debut album by Gary Le Strange, but was it worth the wait? YOU BET IT WAS. Forget the Beatles. Forget Justin Timberlake and Liberty X. This is, simply, the greatest album ever made. Want to know why? Then read our track-by-track analysis of Polaroid Suitcase, the first in what we hope will be a long line of many albums to come...

BALLERINA

Michelle:
After a jaw-dropping intro, in which Gary likens himself to a God and foresees his own future dancing on Top of the Pops, we revisit Ballerina, one of our favourites from the Sex Dummy EP. But while lesser pop stars might have conned their fans by just lifting the same track and putting it on the album, our Lord genius Gary Le Strange re-records the track in its entirety, lifting this catchy little number to the level of a majestic tour de force. The power in this track is magnificent, setting a standard for the many delights on the rest of the album.

Tracy: WOW! This is even better than the version on the Sex Dummy EP! THIS IS WICKED!!!

I'M JAPANESE

Michelle:
Not allowing you a second's breath, the album leaps straight on into this Orientally-oriented dance track, a haunting but infectious melody with lyrics portraying a man lost and out of place in a bewildering foreign city. This is one of the hits of Gary's live show, and certainly one of the hits of the album. Not only does it make you want to dance, it helps you to appreciate Gary's empathy for his Japanese fans, as he tells them that, deep down, just like them, he is actually Japanese.

Tracy: This track is REALLY COOL! WELL DONE GARY!!!

SEX DUMMY

Michelle:
Gary's oldest and fondest-loved track gets a makeover here with another re-recording, and it's all the more in-yer-face for it. Sex Dummy no longer makes an appearance in Gary's live show, but this simple love song for a shop window mannequin will always have a place in our hearts.

Tracy: This is my favourite track on the album!! I love it and have loved it ever since I saw Gary sing it at the Peterford Golf Club, and never stop singing it! I love the bit where he says "SEX DUMMY". And my favourite line is "They said I was a spacker". THIS IS BRILLIANT!!!

PRINCE CHARLES

Michelle:
Just when you thought Gary couldn't get any better, out pops this regal piece of pop purity. Essentially a tragic story of a failed love affair, this is Ennio Morricone for the 21st century. The highlight is Gary's multi-tracked chorus of wailing voices, building to a shattering crescendo which always leaves me breathless. It's at this point in the album that you realise, no one can touch this guy. He is simply the best pop star in the world.

Tracy: "Indian, you're Indian, you're Indian with a little bit of cowboy"

IS MY TOASTER SENTIENT?

Michelle:
A lot of people are saying that this will probably be the track that gives Gary his first hit single, and it's easy to see why. With its funky beat-box rhythms and its lyrics about urban alienation, it conveys the message that, these days, we are all much more dependent on machines than people for company. Couple this with a punchy guitar-led refrain that would knock any current nu-metal band for six, and you have a perfect hit single. Go for it, Gary!

Tracy: I played this to Sarah K, who has always thought Gary was silly and no good, without telling her who it was, and I saw her tapping her feet and her head. She really liked this one and asked who it was, and when I told her she said it was alright, it was better than the other ones she'd heard!! I played her some of the others but she didn't like them, but she is a bit stupid sometimes and I wouldn't expect her to have the taste or the culture to understand Gary's music properly! God, I hope she doesn't read this!!! She'll kill me!!!

GEOMETRY

Michelle:
For a while, we thought this was going to be just the same as the version on the Sex Dummy EP, but no! The ending is completely different! Instead of talking about how he likes Italian furniture and so on, he sings! And what singing! This last minute of Geometry is one of the many highlights of the album, as Gary breaks off into a heartfelt, courageous belter of a finale to the song, more reminiscent of Motown than anything. Those R&B stars of today could take a few notes from Gary here.

Tracy: This is great! This is my other favourite song on the album as well as Sex Dummy! It's a shame he doesn't do either of them in the show, but at least I've got the album to keep me going!!

INDIVIDUALS

Michelle:
It's more new horizons here for Gary as he explores the world of office culture with this highly danceable song. Gary's voice switches from robotic drone to excited war-cry and back again, layers of voices building into an almost medieval-sounding chant of increasing complexity. Four minutes of perfection, in which time stands still, and all that matters is Gary and his amazing voice.

Tracy: WOW!! I remember when I first saw Gary do this at Madame JoJo's a few weeks ago, and listening to it now makes me feel just like I did then, all weird and excited inside, like I want to do something really fast, but I don't know what!

GREY

Michelle:
And so we reach the end of the album, the finale, the last track. Gary's mastery of his art is clearly in evidence here, as his voice (and the music) build from a slow, deep whisper to a soaring intensity unmatched in modern pop. This is the perfect song for the end of the perfect album. When Tracy and I heard this for the first time, we sat stunned into stony silence, the only thing in our consciousness being the heartbeat-like swelling of the drums on this song. This must have been how people felt in the 60s when they first heard Sgt Pepper. A Day in the Life indeed… But this is not just a day… this is the song of a lifetime...

Tracy: This is just AMAZING. Getting to the end of the album, I feel really knackered, but I just want to listen to it all over again!!! WOW!! I can't wait to get to Edinburgh and hear him sing this LIVE every night for an entire month!! HURRAY!!

Well, that's it…
Our review of Polaroid Suitcase is over, Gary's first album well and truly completed. You may not agree with everything we've said about it, but you will surely agree it has to be up there with the greatest albums of all time, even if you don't like it. The question now is: what next for Gary? How can he possibly top what he has done here? Will this be the pinnacle of his achievements, or is this only the beginning of a wonderful musical journey? Only time will tell. For now though, we say: BUY THIS ALBUM! See our Discography page to find out how!!

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