Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – the band that never made it

They were formed in Carmarthen, west Wales in 1991. ‘Gork’ was school slang for a dimwit, ‘Zygotic’ as in O Level biology, and ‘Mynci’ as in the Welsh for monkey. With a name like that, and being talented musicians, they were sure to become a cult band. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci originally consisted of Euros Childs (vocals and keyboards), John Lawrence (guitar) and Richard James (bass). The following year, 1992, Euros’ sister Megan joined the group, playing violin, and they were signed to the Welsh Ankst records. They were school kids at the time. To give a flavour of the Gorkys here’s their 1997 single Young Girls & Happy Endings, which got to number 49 in the UK charts. Listen closely to the lyrics…

Euros Childs, the lead singer and main lyricist, later said that they came up with the most crap name they could think of for the band. During the 12 years that they made music, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci released 15 singles. Not one of them made the top 40. Likewise with their nine albums. The Gorky’s debut album is called Patio and it was released in 1992. This track from Patio is called Miriam O Farbel and it’s sung in Welsh. The Gorkys were sixteen-year-old kids when they made this music…

The Gorky’s failure to achieve commercial success could perhaps be due to the fact that a lot of their songs are in Welsh. Also, as a band they are not easy to categorise, as is often the case with originals. Psychedelic folk rock probably comes close to it. The Gorky’s second album is called Tatay, released in 1994, and this is the title track from it…

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci are obviously influenced by the Velvet Underground, and by the Canterbury mob: Kevin Ayers and Soft Machine (the Tatay track could have been a Soft Machine number). Also on the Tatay album is a song called Kevin Ayers. The brief speech excerpt that opens the number is from Ayers’ Song For Insane Times (you can find a post about the career of Kevin Ayers here). The rest of the track is in Welsh…

The Gorky’s third and final album for Ankst Records was released in 1995 and is called Bwyd Time. This track is called Gewn Ni Gorffen, and again it’s sung in Welsh (I’m trying to give a representation of the Gorkys here, and their work is about a 50-50 split between Welsh and English language)…

In 1997 they released their fourth album on the much larger Fontana label. It’s called Barafundle and is widely seen as the Gorky’s best work. Their fifth album is called Gorky 5, released in 1987, and is widely seen as their worst work. Here’s the title track from their sixth album, Spanish Dance Troupe, released in 1999…

The songs I’ve featured here have had a handful of views on YouTube, except for Spanish Dance Troupe which has had more than 123,000 views! The Spanish Dance Troupe album was the last one to feature founder member John Lawrence. After that the Gorkys made three more albums, the final one in 2003. Their music continued to be inventive and interesting. The sales continued to be dismal (the album covers didn’t help). Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci officially disbanded in 2006 and the ex-members are now pursuing various solo projects.

We will finish how we started, with Young Girls & Happy Endings, in this instance a 1997 live performance on Later with Jools Holland. The Gorkys also perform Patio Song, which is from the Barafundle album. Just look at how young they are…

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