Back in the day (cue the sepia-tinged flashback), a day that I personally do not remember but have witnessed on some late-'80s-to-early-'90s sitcom schlock, wannabe quasi-musicians could bring their talent to the visual level by going to the local mall and find a trendy, unique establishment that would make this dream a reality. Of course, I’m referencing those places where people go in booths with sombreros and acoustic guitars, record a terribly gaudy music video for a premium, and get a VHS of it (I don’t even know what that is, either.) Well, in the fast-paced technological present-day, any hack with a shoddy video camera or even webcam can make a representative music video of the discordant cacophony they call “music” by uploading it to the all-powerful YouTube. In the face of adversity, however, one brave stoic man dares to be different.
Enter the fierce presence of one Mark Gormley. In a day and age when these newfangled music videos are getting a tad complex, Mr. Gormley takes it back to square one with simplistic, uncorrelated music videos and intense and powerful genre-blurring tunes. “Without You” seems to be the hit of the moment, which features a mind-numbing guitar crunch right out of the early Metallica notebook and an ear-piercing, shrill vocal style that could up against the most respected in the metal community. The heart-wrenching music is contrasted with the seemingly random images of a beach, outer space and other stock photos. If his musical complexity is any indicator, the video’s seemingly cryptic and bone-chilling tone likely has a deeper meaning to it. Regardless of the imagery, Gormley refuses to budge or let anything get to him, as he stands bravely and croons his emotions. “Little Wings” changes it up, doing the act that indie-forever quintet Fleet Foxes have been using to skyrocket to fame: A simple acoustic guitar hook is repeated as Gormley displays his best folk falsetto, amid pseudo-psychedelic backdrops of neon butterflies and seagulls. Robin Pecknold, eat your heart out. “Beginnings” is a rocking little number that Gormley wrote many years ago, and it still has a seething vitality today, with the universality of its message and the typical, powerful Gormsley music video. The man never smiles because he is so intense and every syllable he spits is from the heart.
In an ever-changing musical landscape, Mark Gormley has been idly standing amidst it for four fucking decades. The facts remain: He looks like the quiet high school science teacher or the questionable neighbor who lives alone and has a rusty 1996 Chevrolet Express van down the street. His music sounds like it was made using Microsoft’s new, completely unnecessary software Songsmith. His videos consist of nothing more than him not moving in front of spontaneous images that alternate every so often. The introductions to the videos are confounding. In fact, the whole damn concept of a Mark Gormley in 2009 is a mindfuck because of the simple fact that it is 100% legitimate. No trace of irony can be detected even if they are examined with the proverbial fine-tooth comb. A man this serious about his music should be lauded, raised upon shoulders and heralded as the second coming of Christ. Or, like, Led Zeppelin, if you’re secular. M-Gorm is the real deal and needs to be treated as such. Watch everything he has ever done. Examine it. Revel in it. Enjoy it. Buy his record. Put it in a ghetto blaster and walk around a populated area spreading the Good Word of Gormley. Send him fan mail. Join his fan club. If he doesn’t have one, make one. Sport the Gormstache. Fuck Animal Collective, Mark Gormley may be the Best Everything of 2009.