Room Service is available at:
9th March, 2015
Alternative, Heavy Metal
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
Gelato’s self-titled E.P. is available via:
Released: 10 March 2015
Drew – vocals & guitar
Phil – bass
Ben – drums
Recorded & mixed by: Tobin Jones at The Park Studios, London UK
Mastered by: Phil Joannides
IT has come to my attention the music industry is quite a…
cruel (and unflinching thing). Actually, I sort of guessed that: over the last few weeks, I have noticed some great acts ‘call it time’- and close up shop forever. A couple of my favourite (London) acts have disbanded; gone their separate ways- irked by the strains of music and its demands. It is sad to see such a thing: a tremendous act have to quit; overcome by the pressures they face. With so many acts coming through, you are going in (with no idea of where you will end up) – quite how things will work out. I guess this is true of any industry/job: with music, there seems to be an edge of cruelty- an unpredictability that is unfair and harsh. I have seen some fantastic acts dissolve; others who stress over their art- unsure whether they are doing the right thing. A lot of the problem stems from money: not having enough to fund an entire career. The cost of recording (even a single song) can be huge; parlaying that into an E.P. (more still) – it is asking huge demands of the musician. Of course, creative difference can get in the way: it seems finance is the major bugaboo- and something that needs to be addressed. Whether something can be done (and financing arranged for an act) is to be see; someone needs to take action- too much good music is dying needlessly. The work is the main thing: being proud of what you are doing. Whether there is a common solution (to avoid acts having to split/strain) is to be seen; for those playing (and starting up) such issues have to be put aside- and concentrate on the act of music-making. When confidence is high (right from the start) that comes out: the public can embrace music (that is stunning). Gelato have that confidence for sure: an act with a clear eye on the future. Few bands possess quite the same sound, direction and urgency: their mix of quality and nuance is sure to see them be around (for years to come). Before I continue, let me introduce you (to the band):
“The head-hitting, high-energy pace of GELATO brings a solid rock sound with pop undertones, reminiscent of the Foo’s, Queens, and more. After months of throat-shredding, string-snapping & stick-shedding, here is their debut EP, recorded with Tobin Jones (Bo Ningen, Twilight Sad, Cold Specks) and spearheaded by first single Room Service. Join the party!”
There is nothing fake or false when it comes to Gelato: here is an act that is genuine; unconcerned with following anyone else. Being familiar with groups like Los & The Deadlines and Allusondrugs, I know how good this country is (at producing hard-hitting bands with a real kick). Throw in the likes of Bi:Lingual and there is a solid core coming through: acts that fuse genres into a boiling pot of noise, melody, wit, anger (and other varied, contrasting colours). The boys have just arrived, yet the signs are all good: their debut E.P. is a trio of stunning slices; songs that bounce around the brain- a collection of rock-solid, soul-shaking tracks. A lot of new acts coming out tend to play softer (that is to say less vivacious) sounds; concentrate on introspection and self-examination: if you come into a packed marketplace (with so many like-minded competitors) it is hard to distinguish and stand apart. When things are shaked up; the volume is turned up- that is when something terrific occurs. Gelato are already setting tongues wagging: their music is connecting with people; new audiences are switching onto their potential. It is still early; it would be remiss to charge ahead: from what has come out, the guys have a lot of options- and chances to play some rather high-profile venues/dates.
If you have (not as yet) discovered the band, then there are two starting points: Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. Both Dave Grohl—featured acts (Grohl was present during Queens’ Songs for the Deaf and Like Clockwise… albums) have made their mark- the lads have an essence of each. To my mind, there is more Queens’ than Foo’- the vocals have that air of Josh Homme at his best (his braggadocio-cum-cool swing). When Queens of the Stone Age launched Like Clockwise… I was astonished: I did not think the band would produce (something as wonderful) given what came before (Era Vulgaris). When Like Clockwise… came out, my faith was renewed: the Californian boys were back at their best: an album solid with anthems and classics; a mixture of their glorious past (and renewed present). Gelato have the force and prowess of Foo Fighters’ debut (their self-titled effort) – Punk elements came through; passionate performances abound; lunging urgency grip the imagination. Don’t get caught up with other acts (when trying to assess Gelato): the band are their own beats; they simply borrow the odd bit (here and there).
Grumbling and moody vibes stir up Room Service: something dark is bubbling; the burbling bass notes kick the dust about- something dangerous is looking on. Keeping the mood intense and unknowing the intro. begins to heighten and expand: the boys kick up the gears and expand their intentions- spiraling guitar fuses with hissing percussion; leading to a dizzying combination of sounds. Keeping things focused and intense, Gelato tie in some wordlessness: a low-down hum reverberates; the chorus of sighs melts into the fray- the building blocks have been laid. Just as you feel some explosion (is going to erupt) the vocal comes in: at first it is quite controlled and moody. Emphasis is placed more on sound and feel- than clarity and decipherability- the grumble and sneer of the vocal means some of the lyrics are hard to pick up on. This is no criticism or slight: the passion and intention of the song overcomes any slight minor. Our front-man is missing out; his mind is casting out: his thoughts are spinning; his tongue lacerates and conspires- you start to build up your own interpretations. Using the hotel/room service motif, one imagines something half-lit and flickering: a girl (or sweetheart) is on his mind- who he wants to keep by the phone- as the night draws in. At its core- the song itself- has another interpretive possibility: a lonesome (or band-helmed) hero waiting for room service- impatiently treading the floor. Whatever the listener imagines- and there is an open-ended quality to the lyrics- images do come flooding- ideas percolate thick and fast. In the early stages, Room Service broods and prods: the low notes and insistent vocal has quite an overwhelming quality. In spite of there being plenty of melodic nuance- the cooed backing vocals add relief and elliptical promise- there is a foreboding and harsh grip- something that adds to the track (and gets the listener on their toes). Taking a little of Nevermind (Nirvana) with Foo Fighters’ early moments; pulsing in some Queens’ magic (especially their Songs for the Deaf-era work) and you get something quite special. Room Service has plenty of punch and explosion: in the initial foray, these threats are kept mooted and demurred. The boys have a wicked gleam in their eye; a seamless knack of mixing their talents together- incorporating elements of familiar sounds. It is clear (listening to the lead do his thing) there is frustration and “missing out”- his mind is not calmed or settled; anxiety and anger are showing their skins. Past the two-thirds mark, we get that sense of anger (come out to play) – the song expands and fizzes into life- those early introversions are dissipated; replaced with something vitriolic. Never savage or reckless, the boys keep everything in order: ensure the song does not get lost in a swap of random notes- endless screaming and aimless pondering. Catchy and addictive, you cannot help get lost in things: the chorus itself is an insatiable little thing (that begs for some sing-along chorusing). Whether looking at a nervy hotel-based scene- or something disconnected and concerned with broken love- the band gets inside your head: each line seems to resonate and reverberate. By the closing stages, the hypnotic swirl (grumbling vocals in the back; lighter vocals at the front- insatiable vibes around them) takes its toll- the group crank things to the max. Just as you want a bit more, the song comes to its close: everything that has come before (still echoes in the head); the boys leave things with an evil glint.
You are hard-pressed to find detractions; have any criticisms at all- perhaps decipherability is an issue. Some of the words are hard to understand- perhaps a lyrics sheet would be helpful- and get passed by: not a big issue when it comes to Room Service. The vocals shine throughout: never overwrought and pretentious, there is genuine passion and personality- plenty of focus and force; light and optimism. Drew’s vocal made have elements of Homme (and Grohl) without sounding sound-alike and forced- plenty of individuality and freshness come out. When his guitar work comes into the light, you get the sense of a unique player- someone who has a real authority and understanding (and better than most of his contemporaries). As a front-man he leads the music superbly: never stealing all focus, instead you get a real command and leadership- something that adds weight and wonder to the music on offer. Phil’s bass almost steals the show: at the start it is viper-like and growling; as the song progresses, it expands and guides. Never too lonesome and detached, it not only leads Room Service– making sure each word is giving plenty of stature and weight. Ben’s percussion leads from the back; it is always statuesque and meaningful: marking himself out as a solid time-keeper, his sticks work keeps the song strong and intense- there is plenty of control and calm. The entire band is tight and focused: they have a clear understanding and affection; each member knows their role- and plays it extremely well. A band with a rich and varied sound, Room Service is just the start of things- their E.P. contains plenty of range and diversions whilst keeping their core sound loyal.
The E.P. Gelato is as varied (as the ice cream the band derives their name from): a packed and chocked arsenal of tastes, sensations and satisfaction- guaranteed to leave you wanting more. Lead-off track (Get My Way) comes out of the gates snarling: a cutting and driving intro. leads the assault. The sound of Queens of the Stone Age comes out: the glory days of Songs for the Deaf; that tremendous confidence and tremendous sound. Hypnotic and swirling strings put me in mind of Homme (and his crew); the backing vocals (that coo with intimacy) have shades of Queens’ greatest moments- touching on their Lullabies to Paralyze work. I adore both albums; the boys do not steal or mimic: instead incorporate (those albums’) best moments and finest assets- the result is wonderful. With its U.S. vibes; the passion and urgency comes through in the delivery- swagger, energy and lust filters into every note. I know Gelato are inspired by Foo Fighters- an act I have never liked at all- and they supersede the American masters- especially their latest L.P. Being a huge fan of Dave Grohl (the drummer rather than a lead) I hear that coming out- the drumming is intense and tight; never overplayed or uncontrolled. Ruffians closes the E.P.: a song that is brief and memorable; filled with the band’s core strengths. A wonderful bookend- to Get My Way– here is a claustrophobic and suffocating number: one that comes with ragged edges; some lip-licking looseness- a vocal that is ice-cold and cigarette-smoking cool.
Gelato have shown (with their E.P.) they have the talent to remain: they are not one-trick wonders; they show a range of sounds (through the trio of songs). The band remains tight and in-step throughout; each number seems well-rehearsed and authoritative- there is enough fun and frivolity to win over (the most stone-hearted listener). The band manage to tease and tantilise: it would be great to hear some more tracks; expand on the three numbers- Gelato leaves you wanting (a lot) more. With acts like Foo Fighters being past their best- they have been since their early days- and Queens’ slowing (although still immense), we need new kings: an act that have that Desert-Rock-cum-Californian cool to it; bits of mystique and dark magic- a concoction to please the senses. What does the future hold? Well, the band is going to playing and gigging: getting their music out there to the fans; getting people excited. Whether the boys have album plans in their minds (or are thinking of touring the E.P.) I am not sure- their music would have some support across the U.S. (with its Queens of the Stone Age edges). Returning to my opening point- that looks at why bands fault; the stresses that face musicians- I am pleased for Gelato: the band are concentrating on their work; the work is the main thing- hopefully financial issues are not going to come into play. The band have a focused and tight sound; a clear affection- for each other and their songs- that is infectious and gripping: they will be capable of uniting fans of all genres- they are not out to exclude anyone. With melody afoot; hard-rocking vibes being spat out- ample cool being wracked to 11- Gelato have a bright future. Darlings like Royal Blood are getting (a lot of current) kudos: riding the crest of a wave; taking the bull by the horns. I do not think this is a zeitgeist thing: the public have always embraced sounds that err on the side of heavy. In conclusion, the band should be very proud: few acts have the ability to mix by-gone (and legendary) bands with their original and distinct personality- mixes them together to provide something both fresh and familiar. With summer looming, we all need something upbeat and crowd-pleasing: sounds that unite crowds; get feet moving- and get the voices chanting loud. Take the time to discover something special; an act that have ammunition to go far- and take the market by storm. Whether you are fan of Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age (or not) then do not despair: their music is designed to unite- and not divide. Gelato is just the start of things- and the band will not get ahead of themselves- but the signs are all good…
THE boys are here to stay.