If it’s possible for an experimental guitarist/percussionist/violinist/vocalist to have a hit album, this is Fred Frith’s. The just-reissued 1979 session has some of Frith’s most accessible material, thanks largely to its fascination with danceable beats and to the outstanding melodies that run through its 13 entries. There’s even an instrumental cover of "Dancing in the Street" (cut with what seems like the sounds of a Nazi march) that delivers the song’s familiar tune in a silly, warbling guitar voice — kind of a peppery sonic cartoon that’s as smile-inducing as watching Bugs and Daffy match wits.
Although Frith’s guitar and his drumming are mostly at the fore, his violin is no less sweet and warm when leading the five-piece band through the darkness and light of "A Career in Real Estate" or the slightly twitchy "Hand of the Juggler." Really, what makes these 13 numbers so charming is their consistent warmth and the light, simple, generous spirit of Frith’s melodies throughout. As anybody who’s heard his work with Henry Cow, the Art Bears, Naked City, or his more improvised solo recordings knows, Frith is capable of tossing plenty of thorns into his work. But with Gravity, he’s just offering roses.