Gatsby’s American Dream
Ribbons & Sugar
I was lured into this album with the promise of an Animal Farm concept album. Since George Orwell has gone further than any author in shaping my political and social leanings, there was no way I could turn down an album like this. What I ended up with is an emo album with more than enough Orwell-speak to suppress my gag reflex. The boys in this band are not bedecked with buttons, black-rimmed glasses and studded ephemera. Their pig masks and business suits on the cover art are indeed a mold breaker and a swell new indie marketing goldmine (Hot Topic, take note). That is to say, that while this might be emo, there is something slightly off and tongue-in-cheek about the potentially pretentious ground they’re treading. At least they’re trying to push the limits of stale genre.
The album flows like a concept album with tracks bleeding into one another. Musically, it runs through traditional emo instrumentation and ever-changing time signatures (“We’re Not Orphans”) to piano-based ballads (“A Manifesto of Tangible Wealth”) to almost radio-friendly pop harmonies (“The Horse You Rode in On”). Surprisingly, the band has the ability to run through these different sounds smoothly, like seasoned players in all of the above-mentioned genres. The singers’ voices are mostly whine-free, and the lyrical content is well thought out and executed. It’s pretty good, but it’s not Animal Farm.
For the high school-aged me, this would’ve been my album of the summer; as it stands right now it’s a decent album and most likely superior to the other emo bands I protect my ears from. At any rate, I’m glad I got to listen to it. I can imagine putting tracks from this album on mixtapes for my crushes and looking totally intellectual with a band named Gatsby’s American Dream on them. The bookish honies melt for F. Scott Fitzgerald let me tell you…