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Gatsby’s American Dream – In the Land of Lost Monsters

“In the spring of ’27, something bright and alien flashed across the sky. A young Minnesotan who seemed to have nothing to do with his generation did a heroic thing, and for a moment people set down their glasses in country clubs and speakeasies and thought their old best dreams.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald


“Few bands with a sound so unique, unclassifiable and out of touch with a thriving scene have rarely, if ever, made a mark on music as we know it. Yet with honest and thought-provoking lyrics, intelligent melodies and incredible musicianship, Gatsby’s American Dream, is the band that will make an entire generation set down their glasses and think their old best dreams.” This is what the band’s website claims. I, however, propose a more realistic scene: people will set down their glasses, scratch their chins and say, “Goodness me oh my. I do say I think I’ve heard this before. Why, I declare, these young whipper-snappers sound just like Saves the Day and Taking Back Sunday!” This quintet from Seattle manages to do little more than mimic a sound that all of us heard many a time, a realization I’m only too sad to arrive at as I sip, nay, chug from my chilled 40 ounce Steel Reserve.

As I lay (lie?) by the magnificent Mohawk Apartments pool with the late afternoon sun blinding my eyes, I realized that Vocalist Nic Newsham sounds like every other punk-nouveau singer I’ve ever heard, especially when he sings lyrics like those from “Red, Red, Blue:” “Tragic fall from grace/ just like the dinosaurs.” Thought-provoking lyrics, eh? Have my expectations changed? Am I expecting too much? My theory has always been that if a certain band sounds just like another, I’d rather listen to the originator, which is inevitably better than its clone. I will say that this EP wasn’t as stale as I thought it would be after listening to the first track, but the bland electric guitar power chords just don’t do anything for me anymore. Green Day took care of it back in the early ‘90s and it sounded better than this does 12 some-odd years later. So! Technology really can’t improve everything!

On the positive side, the band does manage to twist up their sound a bit by utilizing vocal distortions and violins on tracks like “I Smell an Agenda,” and “You Stole My Story.” Wait, didn’t the Smashing Pumpkins do that way back in ’93 with “Disarm?” What it comes down to is this: If you enjoy the post-pseudo punk rock sound, you will definitely enjoy this EP. If not well…at least it only had seven tracks!


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