The Gary, Logan

The Gary, Logan

Right from the start of Logan (and the band’s previous EP, Chub, too), I caught myself betting the collective record collections of The Gary’s Dave Norwood, Paul Warner, and Trey Pool look a heck of a lot like, well, mine. And as the album unfolds, I found myself nodding and grinning, playing a happy kind of the spot-the-influence game — “hey, that sure looks like Sebadoh over there, and that’s definitely Silkworm right there, and whoa, is that Mission of Burma? I think it is…”

Lead-in track “QSB” roars and burns nicely, with guitars that are warm and rough but not grating, distorted just enough, Neil Young-style, a driving bassline that propels things forwards, drums that thankfully don’t get too damn fancy, and sung/spoken vocals that sound both sarcastic and serious at the same time. There’s plenty of the aforementioned Sebadoh and Silkworm in there, albeit with vocals that’d probably sound more in-place on some Drag City record somewhere; it’s smart, murky, and nearly impossible not to pump your fist to while driving in the car.

“Vice” gets a little less rootsy, relying more on Norwood’s bass to push the main melody and his bitterly raw, flat-sounding vocals to evoke dread and menace, this feeling like something’s wrong but you can’t quite pin it down, while Pool’s guitar spirals in math-y circles over the top. The end result sounds like a cool, propulsive hybrid of old-school Austin indie-rockers Silver Scooter and long-gone Northeasterns The Vehicle Birth, and that’s a musical gene-splicing I’d love to hear more of.

I must confess, though, that when I first heard the album, I instantly loved the rootsier tracks, stuff like “QSB,” “Don’t Send Me There,” and the more low-key, nearly Secret Stars-ish “False Sunrise,” and was a bit put off by the harder, noisier, more math-rock-leaning tracks, like “Vice,” “(Eyes In The) Tap Room,” or “Houses.” I’m not sure why, truthfully; at the outset, I wasn’t sure how the harder stuff fit in the grand scheme. After a few more listens, I was all in. Warner’s drums are what make those latter tracks click for me, particularly “Houses,” where he locks the whole thing down and tethers Pool’s almost gypsy-sounding riffs to the earth.

By the time The Gary gets to “Don’t Send Me There,” with its scratchy-edged Joel Phelps guitars and windswept, dusty vibe, I’m mentally flipping back through my CDs and records and thinking, “holy shit, I need to hang out with these guys.” I feel a kinship with ’em, built on a love of the same types of music I got into back in my youth. Granted, some of Logan is awfully dark, and Norwood sounds about half the time like he’s about to go drown the caustic resentment evident in his voice in whiskey, but hey; I suspect they’d be entertaining to hang with, even still.

Don’t take my nostalgic trip to mean that these guys are merely recycling the mid-’90s greatest hits, because that’s assuredly not the case. They just happen to’ve digested a lot of the music of that era and are using it to make something all their own, and it’s pretty damn great, regardless of whether or not you have all those same albums sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere. In a decade or two, it’ll be Logan I’m pointing backwards to, trying to describe some new band. No bad thing, there.

[The Gary is playing 7/3/10 at Mango's, along with The Jonx, Bright Men of Learning, & Young Girls.]
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, July 3rd, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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