Gatsby's American Dream
Gatsby's American Dream


5.0
classic

Review

by Slex CONTRIBUTOR (45 Reviews)
March 14th, 2019 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I've got to write these songs

Gatsby's American Dream begins with a half-truth. Over a hazy bloom of guitars, Nic Newsham flatly announces 'I'm not mad, I'm just tired, and it makes me sad, at least it makes me something different'. The album proper immediately kicks into high gear, but it's a crucial calm before the storm, and practically confrontational in its dramatic irony; never mind that the song shortly has Newsham theatrically proclaiming 'I'll speak the truth so you know I mean it'. Gatsby's American Dream is a venomous, highly concentrated atom bomb aimed squarely at the music industry and any sucker gullible enough to believe in it, the band themselves absolutely included. In all facets (musically, lyrically, emotionally), it only allows one other instance for Newsham, the band, and the listener to catch their breath and they milk it for all it's worth: Newsham audibly taking a deep breath and yelping 'I am empty!', his voice quivering with visceral exhaustion.

At all other times, the album is a downright claustrophobic affair, every song zipping by in a little over 3 minutes overflowing with hyperactive riffs, relentless hooks and lyrical bloodletting. It's a dizzying amalgam of sticky power pop, low slung grungy grit and histrionic alternative rock that Newsham and company lay waste to. Vitriol seeps through on every song as Newsham caustically jokes and callously calls out the people that have made life a living hell for the band. Sometimes, it's downright hilarious: over stomping piano and galloping drums, the singer deadpans 'You ***ing kids have got to learn the golden rule, you gotta use who you can on the way to the middle'. Other times, it's plain brutal: utilizing a worker bee metaphor to disturbing effect, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" posits 'We've raped the nectar from patches deep, cuz if it tastes like honey then it must be sweet!'. Buzzsaw riffs and playful piano simultaneously dance with each other and wrestle for control until songs collapse in a fuming, worn out gasp.

Gatsby's American Dream does not let anyone off the hook, and it's far from being a swan song for the band; it's a reckoning that ends in self-sacrifice. Everything comes to a head on closing track "The White Mountains", a final kick to the ribs disguised as a triumphant climax. It gradually becomes considerably more spacious and upbeat, with a genuinely celebratory chorus matched with cresting guitars and raucous drumming exuding a parting-of-the-clouds feeling. Of course, it doesn't last long, and it's so sadly fitting that the last song on their final album ends with Newsham intoning 'We can sing the way we like', the melody curdling in his throat. Nothing is resolved and all that awaits is a demise steeped in frustration and disillusionment. Knowing this, it's hard not to view the tracklisting as a bitter joke; "The White Mountains" feigns closure, but you start the album again, and the band immolates itself in a blaze of glory, saying and singing whatever they damn well please. Gatsby's American Dream is a point of no return, and rightfully so: the truth will set you free.



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user ratings (123)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
STFDood84 (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


8850 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Was trying to think of something different to do for my 30th review and the obvious answer was an effusive, overly wordy ramble 5 review, never done that before

Digging: Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula.

tcat84
March 14th 2019


1279 Comments


Volcano was amazing but I think they were trying too hard to top it on this and a lot of things felt forced for me. I'll listen to it again though.

Any idea if their breakup spawned any other bands?

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


8850 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know there's quite a few but I don't know em off the top of my head

MeatSalad
March 14th 2019


17457 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kay kay and his weathered underground is the only one I bothered with



Awesome review, I think you resonate with exactly what the band was going for here. I do think this pales in comparison to ribbons and sugar and even volcano though

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


10124 Comments


Damn, this was a great, concise read my man. Paints a pretty definite picture of the album.

Some fun, riffy pop-punk that makes me feel things? Might have to listen on principle

GPooch21
March 14th 2019


132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of a kind band. This album was not received well at the time, but I love it and still bump it. We missed out on a lot of good music when this band broke up

MeatSalad
March 14th 2019


17457 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They did have that weird non-comeback

johnnyblaze
March 14th 2019


3254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this pales in comparison to ribbons and sugar and even volcano though [2]



but nice review, i need to listen to some GAD now. they were kind of ahead of their time imo. great band.



Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


8850 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't heard the other albums in full but based off the songs I heard this would still be my favorite, seems much more personal

osmark86
March 14th 2019


9434 Comments


Funny seeing this bumped as I just thought of this bsnd for the first time in what must be 10 years yesterday.

Digging: Bersarin Quartett - Methoden und Maschinen

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


8850 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can't stop listening lately

GPooch21
March 14th 2019


132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Volcano is easily their best, but this and Ribbons and Sugar are great too. The singer and guitarist released an album together under the band name The Money Pit which sounds like a more accessible GAD. Good stuff

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


8850 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'll have to check it all out asap

tcat84
March 15th 2019


1279 Comments


Yeah I checked Money Pit tonight definitely has feels like them a bit, but a different style



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