Gob Squad

Watch The Cripple Dance

Written by: PP on 08/02/2008 03:24:43

Gob Squad has been one of the most prominent names emerging from the small punk rock scene of Denmark in the last few years, but until now they\'ve gone largely unnoticed by everyone but those somehow connected to the scene. A lot of the increased buzz about the band can be credited to the band\'s guitarist Thomas Bredahl, who was announced as the new Volbeat guitarist early last year but has decided to balance his time venly between the bands, but that\'s not the only reason to the growing hype. You see, Denmark hasn\'t really ever had a great punk rock act to my knowledge, nor one that could in one form or another be compared to the bigger bands in the genre and stand a chance (aside from maybe the now defunct Heading South). But that\'s about to change with Gob Squad\'s third album \"Watch The Cripple Dance\".

The first time I stumbled on Gob Squad was a few years back when, in my excitement about my then new discovery Heading South, I was plowing through the Danish music scene to see if there were any other worthy candidates to contest their position as the flagship of Danish punk music. Truth be told, I didn\'t think much of the band and their songs. I found them either lacking in melody, song writing skills, or in many cases both to the extent that I shoved them away to the corner of my mind, labeling them as merely \'average\'. Today, it looks as if the band has been slowly evolving into better and better artists, and are now able to write songs that have a very real chance of appealing to a much wider audience.

Take the album opener \"Unconscious Souls\", for instance. Already on the opening riff the band demonstrates they have finally put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together; the riff is great, and it hooks you into the song straight away. Couple that with some layered guitars in the rest of the song and a memorable chorus, and I\'m well excited for the next song. As predicted, \"The Tyranny In Good Intents\" doesn\'t disappoint and kicks up the pace a notch. Vocalist Bredahl\'s vocals are rooted in melodic hardcore, placed somewhere in between scratched clean singing and yelling, adding a nice harsh texture to the melodic guitar riffs. Throw in some well placed gang vocals in the chorus and you\'ve got a band that could just as well be signed to Fat Wreck Chords if I didn\'t know better.

The best tracks on \"Watch The Cripple Dance\" showcase the massive leap in songwriting this band has taken since their last album. \"Stop Pretending\", one of my favorites on the record, is full of tempo changes that each grab you straight into the song. The calm verses are contrasted with a manic chorus full of shouting, while still keeping it nicely melodic in the process. \"The Reason\", another album highlight, starts off almost Against Me!\'ish, before settling down at a sound that\'s best described as merger between No Use For A Name and Strike Anywhere. The chorus has another tempo-change and the lyrics are great: Bredahl sings \"we are the reason people die on the inside, pretty on the outside, but on the inside, she is so cold and damn(?) pretentious, she just can\'t get enough...\" - they\'ll have you singing along in no time. You\'d have to organize a large search party to find a better punk song in Denmark.

In fact, the majority of the first half of \"Watch The Cripple Dance\" is swell. The band blasts a solid melodic punk song after another, each being textbook examples of combining medium-high speed, catchy hooks and raw singing together. But after the halfway point the album\'s problems begin. Though the band doesn\'t really deviate from the sound of the first half, the songs stop standing out and lose memorability quickly. Aside from the fun, bouncy riffs of the title track and its melodramatic clean vocals, there isn\'t really anything that would keep you from skipping to the start of the album and ignoring songs like \"Vacuum Of My Own\". They aren\'t bad songs by default, but they seem to be falling back to the problem the band experienced during their first two albums: they just aren\'t memorable enough - they are straightforward melodic punk rock, listenable, but lacking longevity value.

However, with tracks like \"Stop Pretending\" and \"The Reason\", Gob Squad has absolutely raised their profile in Denmark and opened up for some serious international acclaim potential as well. Overall, \"Watch The Cripple Dance\" is a vivid example of a band that\'s finally about to piece it together, and should they continue on the same path of progression, their next album is going to be killer. On any account, they\'re a hell of a lot better band than Volbeat, anyway, and one can only hope that Bredahl will focus his time on Gob Squad\'s next album.


Download: The Reason, Stop Pretending, The Tyranny In Good Intents
For the fans of: Strike Anywhere, No Use For A Name, Good Riddance
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date 28.01.2008
Mascot Records
Provided by Target ApS

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