Cedar Fever Records
Chub, the formidable first release from this Austin, TX-based trio, does itself a disservice by presenting itself as an EP. There’s more substance to be found in these seven songs than most double-LP concept albums. It’s raw, impassioned, straight-from-the-heart garage rock intended to serve as the vehicle for the world-weary philosophies of the sage presiding over a dark corner of a half-forgotten barroom: “Here lays the sum of his belongings / Here lays the weight of his opinions / Here lays the cold shell of a vain man / Whose legacy burns off like fog / Here lays another sad delusion / Here lays another bitter sunset,” scorns bassist and frontman Dave Norwood on “Nine Oh Five” as he muses over “your headstone,” the second-person addressee never being named outright.
The music here, as on other tracks, is a rough-and-tumble amalgam of Silkworm, Pavement, and Sonic Youth, unpredictable and unpolished and all the better for it, as when Norwood’s bass slips briefly out of tune (deliberately, it would seem) following the second verse of “I May Have a Drink,” a fittingly taunting response to his semi-rhetorical plea, “Tell me it passes / Assure me it passes.” His delivery throughout is the restrained Sprechgesang of Ian Curtis or Johnny Cash, something that exists between everyday speech, a poetry reading, and melodic meditation. In fact everything — drums, bass, lead guitar, lyrics, sallies and retreats — coheres; amazing to think these three had only been playing together for half a year before this was set to tape.
The Gary’s still-untitled debut full-length, due in November on the same label, deserves to be one of the most anticipated of the year. Intelligent, honest, unpretentious, stirring, grassroots indie rock like this doesn’t come along as often as PR reps would like to have us think.
The Gary: www.myspace.com/thegaryatx