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What Does Good Luck Bring?

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Album Review

Continuing to creep out from the shadows of Elliott Smith's legacy, Neil Gust returns with another slab of uniformly solid indie rock with What Does Good Luck Bring?. Like their debut, this set is built around twisting chord progressions and no-frills guitar rock, with few creative missteps or attempts at unqualified brilliance found. A first-rate songwriter in his own right, somewhere between the snakey fuzziness of Lou Barlow and the hook-friendly catchiness of Matthew Sweet, Gust presents a dependable set of gimmick-free songs that are pushed by an understated energy and subtle complexity. That lack of gimmickry, however, might ultimately hinder he and his bandmates from finding a persona all their own, which given the uncontrollable circumstances of Smith's rise to critical acclaim is made all the more difficult. Sadly, one gets the impression that Gust would almost have to make a huge, sweeping artist statement to avoid simply being known as "the guy who used to be in Elliott Smith's other band," which is unfortunate, because albums as solidly varied as What Does Good Luck Bring? deserve better.


Formed: 1996 in Portland, OR

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After the demise of Heatmiser, his noted band with Elliott Smith, vocalist/guitarist Neil Gust formed the band No. 2 in 1998. Two similarly seasoned musicians from the Pacific Northwest -- bassist/vocalist Jim Talstra (Minus 5, Maroons) and drummer Paul Pulvarite (Atomic 61, Jr. High) -- joined Gust to form the indie rock supergroup. Drawing influence from such artists as Television, Gang of Four, and Stevie Wonder, the trio began playing some songs Gust had written toward the end of his stint with...
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What Does Good Luck Bring?, No. 2
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