Apt. 13

Written by: PP on 10/01/2015 20:57:15

Considering Gob are one of the most critically acclaimed punk rock bands Canada has ever produced, it's unnerving to notice how little attention the band receives today by the media and fans alike. But that's what happens when you're gone from the scene for so long. With little fanfare or hype, the band released their sixth album "Apt. 13" a few months ago, the next album in a string of excellent releases the band has produced since their 1994 self-titled debut. It's been seven years since their previous album "Muertos Vivos", the longest pause in their recording history thus far, which is a shame considering the band have been about as consistent as Alkaline Trio in their expression throughout the years.

It's no coincidence mentioning Alkaline Trio in connection with Gob, considering their early work was what inspired early Alkaline Trio records in the first place. That influence continues to exist on "Apt. 13", with a dark, slightly melancholic approach to melodic, mid-tempo punk that sounds eerily similar to some Alkaline Trio work from over the years. But given their rather long absence from the scene overall, it's no surprise to discover nuances from other bands in their sound as well. "Radio Hell", for instance, has a distinct The Hives vibe to its riffage. "Cold" is basically a tribute to classic Green Day records from the late 90s with its cleanly distorted, fast paced punk rock riffage and easygoing choruses. Throughout the album, these influences battle for space in the mix, resulting in at times a dark, melancholic expression whereas elsewhere we are in garage punk, or 90s styled pop punk territory. It's good for variety, and good for Gob's evolution as a band. "Muertos Vivas" was good, but it's important to come back with a slightly different sound when you've been gone for so long if you are to keep old fans interested and attract new ones in the process.

But much like its predecessor, "Apt. 13" is a grower album. The melodies are often layered and depth-laden enough that a single listen won't be enough to get into the album proper. Additional listens will start uncovering the detail beneath the surface especially in the vocal melody / guitar melody interplay. It's not quite as strong as on "Muertos Vivas", however, leaving behind a somewhat blander and less impressive expression overall, despite a number of highlight tracks like the ones mentioned already or "NIL". But songs like "New York", which is a bit too stadium rock oriented, and "Terpsichore", which recalls 90s alternative in the vein of Weezer and Fenix TX, are just not what Gob are particularly good at. But despite a few setbacks, "Apt. 13" is still dominated by decent content overall, even if it's a far cry from their best material.

Download: Apt. 13, NIL, Same As It Ever Was, Cold
For the fans of: Alkaline Trio, Green Day, The Hives
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.08.2014
New Damage Records

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