September 02, 2014 - No Sleep
The unlikely monikered Grey Gordon (we want to see a birth certificate) has put out his share of EPs, but here he finally lays down his tattooed-emo-guy feelings for a full-length. He ditches the acoustics he's spent time with in the past for a huge, chunky, fuzzed-out, ’90s indie-rock sound. First impressions can be brutal, though; Gordon's plaintive vocals bring to mind something Michael Cera might bust out in a movie, making every male in the movie theater cringe a little bit, clenching their fists, but... it works. It just takes some time to sink in.
A song like the excellent "Indianapolis 2008" showcases Gordon's songwriting skills; it builds and bounces and pulls the listener along through a fun yet melancholy storyline, as does fun late-album energy boost "Target." Something about the understated melodic indie tunes, which bring to mind Sebadoh and Superchunk ("Learned Helplessness" finds the middle ground between the two, and damn is it fun), is just so charming and infectious. There's a hint of No Idea Records-style ’90s emo, too: "Like Atlas" brings to mind the eternally forgotten Clairmel, of all bands. Gordon's vocals continually threaten to take power away instead of adding to the tunes, though; time will tell whether they'll improve and become stronger and more confident or if he'll stick with the skinny-guy-being-meek thing.
But, growing pains: We've all got 'em, here they're documented, sandwiched and mainly eclipsed by some extremely comforting, rocking fuzzy indie rock of a throwback variety visited nowhere near often enough. Well played, Gordon; we're glad you brought it up. Now let's see where you go from here.