Gatsbys American Dream – Volcano (CD)

First off, the tracks on “Volcano” are all very short, with a disc that is only 33 minutes long. However, the reliance on clichéd guitar lines (even in terms of in-track repetition) and half-baked tracks make this disc suffer in much the same way as “In The Land of Lost Monsters”. There are some moments on this disc that do inspire listeners, such as the drum-beat on “A Mind of Metal and Wheels”, but the vast majority of tracks on “Volcano” fall flat on their face. “The Giant’s Drink” may have the proper polish on it for the track succeeds, but the attempt is held back by the tremendous amount of distortion added to it. What could be compelling instead is buzzing and loud. The differing time-signatures that Gatsbys American Dream uses on “Volcano” is the disc’s main saving grace. With a heavy Counting Crows influence, “Shhhhhh! I’m Listening To Reason” is an example of this, using a SOAD-like experimentalism that really pulls the disc up from the mediocrity it was mired in previously. This experimental nature would be much of what fuels the disc throughout the lean tracks, and is almost disappointing considering the skill that the band shows compared to what filler a listener is left with.

As well as the innovative time signatures, Gatsbys American Dream uses an organic chorus to finish off “Reason”, which really highlights the differences between it and the straight-forward follow-up track “Meet Me at the Tavern in Bowerstone”. Some of the later tracks slide back into the muck of the majority of these tracks, most notably “Speaker For The Dead”, but there are a few bright moments to speak of. For example, in the penultimate track “Badlands” there is a very heavy classical influence (which almost feels as if a small orchestra is taking up the space behind the band).

The final track really is a sound to be heard. With the inclusion of hair-metal esque guitars laid down by Bobby and fairly responsive drums laid down by Rudy, the disc ends on a high note. There are number of weak links on the chain that is this disc, but this is still miles beyond where the band left us after “Monsters” ended. Here’s to hoping that the next release by GAD will look back towards “Ribbons & Sugar”, something that “Volcano” tends to do more so than the previous EP. Strengthened on the whole by this disc, Gatsbys American Dream looks to a future that is uncertain.

Top Tracks: The Loosing Of The Shadow, Shhhhhh! I’m Listening To Reason

Rating : 5.5/10

Gatsbys American Dream – Volcano / 2005 Fearless / 13 Tracks / / / Reviewed 14 May 2005

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