Well folks, let’s just get right to it. It is admittedly very difficult to write a debut album. An album one can look back on and say, “Yep, pretty proud of that.” Especially when said album is of the electronic/acoustic/indie style. It pleases me to tell you that Gazelle’s first work, Sunblown, is such an album.
Gazelle is comprised of two Champaign-Urbana, Illinois rock scene statesmen: home-studio warlock Jeff Dimpsey (Hum, National Skyline, Honcho Overload, Poster Children) and vocalist Adam Fein (Absinthe Blind). It is no surprise given the list of projects these two have been involved in that the musicianship, and sound quality on this debut album is top notch. What does surprise me is the way these two qualities were paired so well with such a variety of sounds, genres and moods.
I’ll admit, I was nervous to start this one. Hmmm, I’m starting to think maybe I’m a bit of a cynic. I don’t think it’s unfounded though. After all, you never know what you’re going to get when you delve into such a genre-bending collection of music.
However, my cynicism was put to rest early with the albums opening song, “Jets.” “Jets” proves through all its parts (extraordinary guitar work, the supplementary drum ‘n bass beat and the rock influenced vocals) that this duo is serious about their work and don’t take shortcuts. This and other songs like “Bridges” and “The First Rays,” demonstrate perfectly the groups electronic skill, though never during the album did I forget they were a rock band at heart; thanks to songs like “Antidote,” “Sonhead” and “I’ll Be Late Again.”
Not that was it hard to pick out, but I felt these three all helped amplify and distinguish the emotional current present throughout. Keep your ear out for the guest vocal spot from Adam’s sister, Erin Fein (former vocalist of Absinthe Blind and current member of the sensational, Headlights), on the subdued, ambient “Phasedown.”
Listen, you can slice this album up and classify it into all kinds of genres, but ultimately, you’d be missing the point. This is just plain good music. Sunblown serves as an excellent demonstration of Gazelle’s talent in a variety of fields and I hope they only continue to get better. Listen for yourself.
Sunblown is out now on Hidden Agenda.