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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gay Dad - Leisure Noise

Name: Gay Dad
Album: Leisure Noise
Year: 1999
Style: BritPop
Similar Bands: Radiohead, Suede, Big Star, Grandaddy, Travis
"One-Word" Review: 70's-reincarnate-brit-splosion
Based Out Of: London, England
Label: London Records, Sire

Leisure Noise - Cover, CD, Back (Advanced CD)
Leisure Noise (1999)
  1. Dimstar - 5:14
  2. Joy! - 5:00
  3. Oh Jim - 2:46
  4. My son Mystic 3:26
  5. Black ghost 7:35
  6. To Earth with Love 5:05
  7. Dateline 4:43
  8. Pathfinder 3:57
  9. Different kind of blue 4:51
  10. Jesus Christ 4:16
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:Cliff Jones - Guitar, Vox (Brutus)
Nicholas "Baz" Crowe - Drums (Brutus)
Charley Stone - Guitar (Salad)
Nigel Hoyle - Bass (Brutus, Gramercy)
James Riseboro - Keys
Tony Visconti - Producer (David Bowie, T-Rex)
Mark Firth - Engineer, Producer
Gary Langan - Producer, Sound Engineer (Art Of Noise)
Chris Hughes - Producer / Sound Engineer (Adam & The Ants)
Peter Saville - Artwork

Unknown-ness: I don’t remember when I got this CD, but I know I got it on the cheap as an advanced CD. I probably heard the hype that the band generated, while following bands like Blur, James, and the Lightning Seeds, and then found it in a used bin somewhere. Also adding to the appeal is the sleek, clean “road sign” artwork. I do not remember what it sounded like, or if I ever listened to it really, so it will be all new experiences this run through.

Album review: “Dimstar” quietly begins with a fade into an echoey dripping effect that places us in a cave, and a mystical synthesizer adds to the atmosphere. The Brit Pop guitars begin soaring and the driving drum beat takes us to the song proper. The vocals are smoothly gliding and moodless in pitch. Sort of like Radiohead or Suede without Yorke or Anderson’s unique voice. In the breakdown, the vocals become more shreikly spoken than sung, and the result offers a hard rock metal tone for the brief section. Fuzzed guitar ends the track and transitions right into “Joy!” which sounds muted after the guitars end. Again the vocals swoop across the instrumentation, and don’t precisely match up, but offer a good combination. This is as close to the Lightning seeds dance pop as they get, with the drum beat and electronic samples. Out of nowhere comes the chorus, completely different in style, production, and emotion from the rest of the song. His vocals are supplemented by harmonizing female vocals. The chorus is quite catchy, but the verse is what commands the song, and gives it an overall spacey feel. The vocals in the breakdown at the end of the song remind me of something that Blur might choose. “Oh Jim” starts as an acoustic lullaby, and then launches into a grand Big Star sounding chorus. “My son Mystic” is a straightforward, almost a throwaway brit-pop number, with forgettable melodies that you might expect to find on typical Gin-Blossoms radio. “Black ghost” is an epic 7.5 minute song that slowly creeps up from the beginning with its simple drum beat and guitar work. Synthesizers add to the mix, but they are straightforward single notes meant for melody rather than extravagance. The light vocals begin and the result is a light and airy psychedelic atmospheric piece. The song is more reliant on the musical sections and droning vibe that is created, rather than the 70’s rock feel that the vocals offer. The way that the vocals and music are combined reminds me of Grandaddy minus the electronics. A long quiet fade out ends the song.

“To Earth with Love” is the single that brought fame to the band, over a year before the album came out. The vocals are whiney to aggressive, and the song is a driving pop-rock tempo. It sounds a lot like U2. It has some catchy parts, but over all, it sounds very commercial. There is one saving aspect of the song, which are the backing vocals to in the chorus. The song feels a bit structureless, which may be a good, appealing thing, but it feels like a clips song of a Broadway show. “Dateline” is a strong, driving brit pop song with rushing guitars and great echoing keyboards. Unfortunately the vocals are a bit too shrill and 70’s in style for my liking. They are even a bit like Billy Corgan’s voice at times. The singer recaps his life in a timeline in the lyrics to the song. The musical breakdown features a piano and a very slowed down tempo from the rest of the song, and lasts for the remaining 1.5 minutes of the song. “Pathfinder” reverts back to the smooth vocals, with instances of the nasally sound. It is a quiet and feels like a very sentimental song. The smoothness in his vocals is abandoned for an Ours or Muse like propelling vocal. But it ends in the quieted smooth vocal sound. “Different kind of blue” starts off with a marching drum only portion and then adds light instruments, including a hushed vocal performance again. The production picks up in spurts, but over-all, it is a quiet, introspective song. He picks up the emotion and energy to his singing at to end the song, as the music soars up to a climactic and chaotic ending. “Jesus Christ” is a drum and piano inspirational tune sung like something from Travis. There is no tongue in cheek humor; it is a straightforward religious hero song. This is very much a downer to end the album on, even if the song is meant to be good. Okay, it sounds too much like a Christian rock song, I gots to turn it off.

Stand-Out Track: Joy!

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