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Gatsbys American Dream

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Album Review

Gatsbys American Dream are pissed — not at their ex-girlfriends, not at Mom and Dad, not at the government. For their self-titled fourth album, they've got a giant bone to pick with the music industry. OK, it's not like this idea hasn't been explored before, but seriously, 11 tracks later and it's a marvel GAD still want to play their instruments. Not only do they stick a giant middle finger to the players behind the scene — labels, radio execs, promoters who screw them out of show guarantees — but the Seattle troupe also hardly spares the feelings of the general punk/indie rock scene they spawned from. They've created a sort of cautionary and cynical music seminar for that random kid buying a T-shirt at a gig or that band just starting out with big plans for itself. Opening with a drained "I'm not mad, I'm just tired," singer Nic Newsham goes on to proclaim "I know you really want to believe/You really want to but it's so much easier to look the same and sound the same to play the game." And the guys just get more overtly sarcastic and acerbic from there. The layers of jerking guitars and tight rhythms, which scoff at usual song structures and have become their signature dynamic, are confident and charismatic. Erratic tempo changes drive the dark wall of sound that supports crashing, often mocking, piano and gang-like backing vocals. However, it's almost surprising how engaging and enjoyable the music remains, since lyrically there is overwhelming disillusionment, jadedness, and defiance. Gatsbys American Dream are obviously not so disenchanted yet — trying to stay true to their music while watching that they don't cross someone who could later complicate career opportunities — as to not care about their songs. Since really, they've created one of the best indie releases of 2006. And despite the cutting criticism, this album will likely not convince any kid to really shelve dreams of rock stardom. But it might delay the endeavor, as those kids might be rocking out a bit too hard to these stellar tracks in their bedrooms to remember to go to their band practice.


Formed: Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Punk rock fans Bobby Darling and Nic Newsham weaned themselves on melodic punk revivalists like Lagwagon and Propagandhi until they decided to start a band together. Drafting bassist Kirk Huffman and drummer Dustin McGhie, the band christened themselves Gatsbys American Dream and attempted to start a rock band. Teaming with producer Aaron Sprinkle, the group recorded Why We Fight in the spring of 2002 for a summer release on Rocketstar. Next progressing past simply playing fast punk, GAD returned...
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Gatsbys American Dream, Gatsbys American Dream
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