Gatsby’s American Dream – In The Land of Lost Monsters (CD)

A synthesizer is omnipresent during “Yes, This is About You”, and the nineties-influenced alternative rock of Gatsby’s American Dream is just merely a facet of the entire force of the band. The opening track mixes the Weezer-like rock that forms Gatsby’s American Dream’s base with pure cheese metal, and the second track, “A Conversation With The Devil” is influenced by doo-wop and fifties and sixties American rock. Nothing can possibly hold the band back on this disc besides the band themselves, as the mastering of “Land” is solid, with the only possible complaint being levied against it being that the EP is not necessarily warm enough. Splashing heavily during “I Smell An Agenda”, the drums come into prominence, gradually replacing the vocals as an aural force. Comparable to Maroon 5 during “You Stole My Story”, the track seems as if it is trying too hard – the hard burst of percussion and bass does not proceed logically from the rest of the track. While I understand that this shock may be necessary, it jars the listeners’ ears and disrupts the momentum carefully cultivated on the rest of the disc.

The synthesizer comes back for a solo during “The Badlands”, pairing itself well when the vocals come back to audible levels. Providing a harder presence during the ultimate track, “The Dragon of Pendor”, the brooding drums put out the saccharine-sweet vocals found on the track, vocals that only sound proper when the drums disappear. The synthesizer provides an ambient soundscape that flitters over top of the bass on “The Dragon of Pendor”, and the bass solo provides a percussive quality that works along with the vocals in a much more compelling way than the oddly-off drums.

“In the Land of Lost Monsters” shows a band that is still attempting to find its way, jumping from style to style while leaving some fairly large leaps for the listeners to limber. The disc is less radio-friendly than “Ribbons & Sugar”, and the extended drum solo that ends “The Dragon of Pendor”” is symbolic of the frustration that the listener has in that they know that Gatsby’s American Dream is good, but on both this and their previous LP, they haven’t been at the top of their game. Perhaps pieces will fall together for their debut release on Fearless, although the latter has sunk many a promising band.

Top Track: Yes, This Is About You

Rating: 4.8/10

Gatsby’s American Dream – In The Land of Lost Monsters / 2004 LLR Recordings / 7 Tracks / http://www.gatsbysamericandream.com / http://www.llrrecords.com / Reviewed 07 October 2004

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