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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Gatsby

eclectic reviews and opinions


Floods + Fires

(self-released, 2005)

Floods + Fires has been sitting in my to-review stack for probably a month, not because I don't like it -- I do, quite a bit -- but because I've been trying to find a way to avoid saying the obvious. I give up. Floods + Fires reminds me, first and foremost, of Superchunk. It's not the only thing in the mix. The band has a reflective side -- there's even some piano on the record and a few tape-loop interludes between songs. Gatsby's Alan Wuorinen has a voice that's more pleasant (though less distinctive) than Superchunk's Mac McCaughan. Some of the songs jangle more than crunch.

But Gatsby's forte is the same as Superchunk's: riff-driven songs with unconventional melodies that don't seem like they should be catchy -- but somehow are. It's a much easier trick to describe than to pull off, and Gatsby does better at it than most. The recording (by Mike Quinn of Moontower Studio) is clear. The mixes are generally well-balanced (the drums are weaker than I'd prefer on several songs), and there's a cornucopia of guitar tones on display. They also bury several of their strongest songs deep in the album, which I think is kinda dumb but also admirably gutsy.


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