Monday, January 14, 2013

Gospel Gossip on Guilt Ridden Pop /Old Blackberry Way Records

Guilt Ridden Pop out in Minneapolis sent in a new single from a local three piece playing a layered shoegazey pop from Gospel Gossip. A split label release with Old Blackberry Way, I have a little bit of trouble putting them alongside stuff like Slowdive or My Blood Valentine because of lead vocalist Sarah Nienaber's super distinct sound. There's no burying her contribution in among the distorted electrics here...the times they blow this into pure fuzz is pretty measured...a great combination of restrained highs and focused pop.

A-Side's "Atlantic Blue" is undeniably rooted in that fuzzy sound in it's massive echoing crash cymbals, huge textural guitars and synths washing all over the place. Sarah feels barely loud enough to rise out of this hissy sound even though her melody and raspy vocal style is easily taking this over....even better then she appears for a brief measure in this nearly five minute song because it leaves you wanting more of this sort of late '70s Stevie Nicks sound. The instrumentation continues to build long after she's stopped with the electric layers piling higher and higher, the collection of elements continuously turning over into an ever growing sound. It's like Sarah's had her time in the beginning of this and then the distortion starts to take over completely. Either the narrator's voice left or it was the impetus for this overwheling instrumentation that seems to come in and plateau out to the end. The lonely few strums all by themselves at the end gives you a sense of how massive these chords are and the effects riding throughout the track. Even with the vocal restraint, this is epic because it started this avalanche.

B-Side's "Behind" kicks in with a slow pop beat of isolated snare and loads of jangle guitar. Sarah's vocals this time get a jump on things up front and that smokey style all echo'd in the back gives this an 80's teen soundtrack kind of soul. A lot more to say this time but still the band wastes no time when she gives them a break to come in with a solo wash of reverb and the cymblas growing into a sheer wall of hiss. There's serious vocal ability here and for as pop as this goes, it still feels serious...there's a little brightness melodically this time but there's no sunny days here. It's an unusual combination of classic elements mic'd in a cavern, the vocals all the way in the back in an attempt to give the layered electrics here a fighting chance. She's got the ability to, in the middle of this slightly pop track, keep it completely depressing...well let's say melancholy. The next one, "Sad Machines, starts with a solitary Young Marble Giants bassline and guitar restraint slowly building from the back of this in a Rebecca Gates, Spinannes feel here, filtered through ride or lush. Always slightly buried, like she's having to make an enornmous effort to deliver the vocal... it's still the hardest thing she's going to have to do. Of course this one blows up at the end, her vocals on a massive delay this time, verses piling up on one another, almost taking this to a scary place. They have a handle on these dynamics, it's a completely satisfying sound. Lyrics about photographs and the seaside, she's not overselling any of this, it's got enough interesting guitar work to keep this unexpected. The washes of distortions and off kliter messy solos are sort of avant garde or at least experimental. Somehow they keep the fact they are going to get this big a complete secret. You never really see it coming. All at 45 in a great package full of mystery. On clear vinyl with download card in a beautiful handscreened collage sleeve with matte scratchy ink.
Get it from Gospel Gossip's bandcamp page.

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