Gypsyblood is an interesting and intriguing mix of Goth, Post-Punk, and Noise Rock all rolled into a surprisingly accessible package; I knew of them before taking on this review, but didn’t have the pleasure of having heard them before. Their sound, which I mentioned before is pretty diverse, reminded me a lot of the New Wave from the UK mostly, and made me feel both old and a little nostalgic. Deeper into the album, aspects of Lo-fi and Garage mix pleasingly with avant/noise reminiscent of The Velvet Underground.
Intriguing for certain, and in spite of my rather clichéd comparisons, worthy of serious listens for fans of any or all of these genres.
I mentioned that Gypsyblood has a very British New Wave, post-punk sound, but they are actually from Chicago, USA, and are signed to Sargent House (the Major of Indies!). If I had not done some research and read up on the members of Gypsyblood, I would have bet money that they were a UK or Irish band. I guess once you’ve heard Green Day (Yanks) imitating Stiff Little Fingers’ vocalist, Jake Burns, all bets around accents are off.
It’s almost immediately clear that Gypsyblood don’t take themselves as seriously as many bands do. On ‘My R.K.O. Is M.I.A’, an upbeat gem with machine-gun punk rock drum rolls, the main vocal during the chorus is accented by a background falsetto vocal flourish reminiscent of campy 60s surf music or a muted Mariachi trumpet. This song is (and I don’t use this word lightly ever) fun! The rest of ‘Cold in the Guestway’ is decidedly darker in mood, although I think some of that is attributable to the deep, resonating tone. It’s kind of a cross of Peter Murphy and Ian Curtis, but a little deeper.
The opener, ‘Take Your Picture’, would not be out of place on a Flaming Lips album, and for that reason alone is another favorite of mine. The two-singer vocals throughout are run through some kind of voice effect, making them sound like they are coming out of an extremely small and old speaker; Coupled with the guitars, drums and noise underneath, there’s a great Lo-fi anthemic feel and sound to the song. Adding some levity to the song are the ‘Oooohs’ and ‘Aaaaahs’ around the chorus.
Track two, ‘In Our Blood’, while not really a standout for me, is worth mentioning because this song sounds like another old favorite, The Clash. Not necessarily the tune or the effects, but the vocals sound as though Mick Jones himself made a cameo on an Interpol tune. This track is cool and has a great guitar line in it, but that is a bit in the background and a bit harder to pick out.
I really like the song called ‘2-4-6 InTheDark’, which I think of all the songs (and in spite of the fucking absolutely fantastic kazoo) sounds the most like a British New Wave tune. I was not surprised to read, after hearing this song, that one of the band members is a huge fan of Echo and the Bunnymen (who were a favorite of mine). The song is really short, and that is the only downside. Even the shitty grey wasteland of modern commercial radio should play ‘2-4-6 InTheDark’, but of course won’t. (In a couple of other places, some pinch harmonics a la ‘Lips like Sugar’ pop up.)
I can’t really cover all the songs, which is a shame, but I do highly recommend the whole album. The songs are all under 4 minutes, have enough going on to pique almost anyone’s interest, and are just quirky and noisy enough to be cool and not lose their appeal. I will definitely be catching this band on tour if it comes my way, and ‘Cold in the Guestway’ has a permanent place in my collection.