Gateway District

Old Wild Hearts

Written by: PP on 14/07/2013 19:28:45

Gateway District are a female fronted punk band from Minneapolis featuring ex-members of The Soviettes and Banner Pilot, whose new album "Old Wild Hearts" is pretty catchy, but unfortunately stumbles on all the problems I normally associate with female fronted bands in general. While the singer is able to put up a few catchy chorus melodies, such as on "Go Home", she's definitely no Brody Dalle and lacks power in her voice to deliver her expression convincingly. I've now been listening to the record for weeks and just can't get over her weak delivery that lacks immediacy and urgency on every measurable level, and as a result, the songs feel average instead of catchy aside from a couple of good cuts scattered across the 11 song album.

Throughout "Old Wild Hearts", we're dealing with medium tempo punk rock that's based on simple three chord riffs, which isn't a problem in itself as we've seen plenty of no-frills bands succeed with exactly that formula. No, the problem is in that there isn't a proper dynamic between the instrumentals and the vocals, resulting in songs that sound okay, but are kind of meh anyway as you go through them. You know that feeling? When you can't really describe why you think the record isn't good but isn't that bad either? That's the problem with "Old Wild Hearts" just as it was with its predecessor: it's just too damn bland and forgettable without being a bad record per se.

Case in point? Take "When I Fail", for instance, which sounds like a Banner Pilot song instrumentally. Everyone knows that Banner Pilot are the kings of no-frills punk rock, but again here the lack of passion in the vocals leaves the song standing in a very stark and negative contrast to those guys. This song is symptomatic to most of the disc, even though "Go Home", "Murakami" and "Sunken City" are arguably decent songs that I'd pop on every once in a while. Overall, however, the disc is an average record in a style of music that generally only delivers quality releases.

Download: Go Home, Murakami
For the fans of: Banner Pilot, The Soviettes
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.03.2012
It's Alive Records

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