Gas Huffer – Lemonade For Vampires (CD)

It happens during “Monument” that Gas Huffer closely parallels The Vandals, using the same vocal inflection and repetitious guitar riffs to get their point across. However, “Monument” is not a cut and dry copy of The Vandals, but rather has Gas Huffer taking up the rockabilly cause (Tiger Army, Nekromantix) for their other influence. Changing up again for their “Another Wafer, Please” Gas Huffer begin to take on the heavy synthesizers of the sixties, all while moving into an interesting-sounding surf riff. Gas Huffer’s strongest suit may not be in a cohesive sound, but rather their ability to come up time and time again with differing genres and sounds to please their listeners with.

Also in Gas Huffer’s favor during “Lemonade For Vampires” is the fact that they do not need to take themselves seriously; “Kingdom Of The Sun” has enough goofiness attached to the serious musicianship that one has to do a double-take and assure themselves they are not listening to a Weird Al recording. “Canadian Vistas” has the same type of mixed-styles present during its runtime, but the insinuation of a Misfits-like “goth” atmosphere (the haunting vocals during the breakdown) and the slow, definitive vocals really makes the track into a revamped version of Black Sabbath’s classic “War Pigs”. Any cohesion the disc might have had in the first half of “Lemonade For Vampires” disappears during the spastic, amazing “All Natural”.

“All Natural” has a country/native sound to it that does not fit to an easily dissectible time signature. However, it is during this breakdown that the genius of Gas Huffer really can be shown; the track is near six minutes, a length of time that seems a mere fraction when one considers the myriad of differences present. The mastering on this disc is perfect, allowing the rich instrumentation of Gas Huffer to shine through without distancing the listener in any way from the band. When Matt’s vocals move into the half sing-songy vocals previously mentioned on “All Natural”, one can honestly create an image of a crazy person describing those things in their mind’s eye. The ambitious length of the disc (over fifty minutes) may be a little long for the short attention spans of punk fans, but this allows for individuals to continually find new things about the band and their work on this disc. There might be a heavy reliance on bar chords during “Lemonade For Vampires”, but the veteran Huffers ensure that these riffs are cut in with intense arrangements at every corner.

Top Tracks: Termite Thermometer, All Natural

Rating: 6.8/10

Gas Huffer – Lemonade For Vampires / 2005 Estrus / 13 Tracks / http://www.estrus.com / Reviewed 11 August 2005

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