Gaytheist, Portland’s criminally under-hyped, supercharged supergroup is having a release show tonight at the Black Lodge in support of their album Hold Me…But Not So Tight. It will be the second full length released on Seattle’s own Good to Die Records.
Gentle readers, I don’t have to tell you that Sound on the Sound has been relatively mum over the last several months because of all the “life changes” that have occurred to us as individuals. Am I embarrassed to say that I still haven’t posted my “Best of 2012″ list and that I’m still working on it at a glacial pace?
Apparently not because I just did.
Gaytheist was featured in that list, due mostly in part to the strength of the songs found on Stealth Beats. The topsy-turvy balancing act of the hard-rocking yet infinitely catchy “Can’t Go To Mecca.” A narrative with a distorted staccato backdrop, that focuses on an impending barren wasteland ripe with litigative scarcity and the absence of designer threads (“Post-Apocalyptic Lawsuit”).
For a rock and roll group comprised of only three components, this group does enough collateral damage to make other bands reconsider getting rid of that lazy second guitarist
who always shows up late to practice and never adds any real value to the songs. Beyond the muddled crunch of Jason Rivera’s six string and and the familiar overdrive of Tim Hoff’s bass, Gaytheist drummer Nickolis Scott Park Fleischman plays the craziest drum fills I have ever heard in a “conventional” rock band. I haven’t heard anyone in this genre accentuate the end of measures like this since Burning Airlines old timekeeper Peter Moffett. Both of the aforementioned percussionists sound like an entire drum line at times and they make no apologies for it. Ladies and gentlemen, the benefits of practicing and perfecting your craft.
Hold Me continues the same songwriting formula carried over from Stealth Beats. In other words, the tunes are explosive, catchy and brief. I graduated from the school of, “The shorter the song, the more memorable it is.”
Powerviolence is all I listen to. It pleases me to no end that the average song on this album is around two minutes in length.
Once upon a time, artistic segues were all the rage. Why not throw three or four brief interludes in a single album to validate your creative merit? All of the people that write for the print copy of Spin will be so impressed!
Does Spin still have a print copy?
Then people found out how to use the internet for its unlimited potential in workplace efficiency (ie. cat memes and youtube wormholes). NOBODY HAS TIME FOR YOUR MUSIC ANYMORE!
Gaytheist is fully aware of this. I’d even make the not-so-outlandish claim that there compositions on Hold Me are superior to those found on Stealth Beats. There were times while listening to Stealth Beats> that I thought the following: “This is pretty fucking zany. It reminds me of those old ‘Yipes! Stripes! Fruit Stripes Gum!’ commercials from the 90s.” In other words, there was a lot going on. Eventually with enough listens to Stealth Beats, the rotation of the Earth and all other planetary traffic return to normal speed and expected trajectory. No superstar team of astronauts needed to be launched into outer space to usher in the untimely demise of any asteroids.
And that is where Hold Me begins,
wi th the cinematic tears of Steven Tyler singing a god awful ballad. with a blistering tale of loneliness that could describe the life of yours truly any melancholy enthusiast. Complete with walls erected for self-defense and palm muted guitars desperately trying to outrace the rhythm section. Straight forward and quickly to the point, “Starring In ‘The Idiot’” clocks in at a swift 34 seconds. Genius.
“60 Easy Payments” reminds me of Chicago rock and roll in the middle nineties. Out of the Loop-era hulky pop that rallies against the pitfalls of greed and competitive consumerism. For some of you, the main riff will sound Torche-esque.
I don’t listen to Torche so I made that last sentence up, sorry. Gentle readers, once again the message is much like the song, straight and to the point. It’s basically the complete opposite of those work-related conference calls you take from home. The aforementioned being the sole reason why there is no god.
Can we pretend for one moment that Cheap Trick is no longer a band in the year 2013? Cool. Literally the first thing I thought when I heard “Contest of Competence” was, “If Cheap Trick knew how to play their instruments this frantically, I could totally see them writing a song in a similar vein to this.” I’m not sure why but after numerous listens, Hold Me is really starting to conjure up visions of midwestern power pop from yesteryear with hints of momentary violent fits. I’m sold.
My only complaint about Hold Me is that my new favorite Gaytheist song “Ock of Rages” is only on the “MANhattan” single but not on this record. Talk about anthemic efficiency, good gracious. Be sure to check out the previously stated on the bandcamp.