Courtesy of Henry Chen Photography
The Guggenheim Grotto – “Fa Da Da Dee”
New York City’s Guggenheim Museum is recognized for its diverse collection of fine art, running the gamut from traditional Impressionist paintings to more eclectic contemporary pieces. The Guggenheim Foundation has museums across the globe, each boasting works at least as varied as those in New York, nearly making the Foundation’s name a metonymy for myriad artistic influences and styles.
Dublin-based folk-pop duo The Guggenheim Grotto, made up of Kevin May and Mick Lynch, has taken the ideology of its namesake to heart. At times, May and Lynch sound like they are channeling a thoughtful, “The Sounds of Silence”-era Simon and Garfunkel. At other points on its sophomore album, Happy the Man, the duo relies on bubbly, foot-tapping-inducing pop beats. And every now and then, TGG adds an element of surprise, like the a tinge of electronica and female harmony that appear on “Fa Da Da Dee.”
Even TGG’s fun, seemingly mindless songs boast philosophical lyrics, setting the duo apart from the more superficial pop outfits circulating radio airwaves. “Her Beautiful Thoughts” could fall into the trap of a trite song about post-break-up depression (toward the end of the song, the repeated lines of, “She used to say / ‘Let’s get naked and get under the sheets’” is directly followed by, “I just can’t seem to get out of bed anymore”), draws upon some deeper ideas. The song’s protagonist recounts what he misses about his ex, which, in addition to the aforementioned naked bed time, includes her titular “beautiful ideas.” “She used to say that magic was the edge / And science and God, they were the sides of a copper penny piece,” May and Lynch sing.
On the other end of the aural spectrum is “Philosophia,” a folksy and aptly titled look at life. Velvety vocals croon lines such as, “Perhaps no perfect way exists at all, just many different kinds.” Musically, the song has an ethereal feel and includes the distant sound of running water, as if the singers are sitting in the woods next to a babbling brook, contemplating ancient thinkers.
The one-line chorus of “Philosophia” reflects the sound and ideology of TGG: “Oh, to be a work of art.”
–By Executive Editor Ani Vrabel