Gratitude â€“ Youâ€™re Invited / 2004 Atlantic / 4 Tracks / http://www.gratitudemusic.com / http://www.atlanticrecords.com / Reviewed 08 February 2005
Coming straight out of the gate with a strong power-pop meets emo type of influence, â€œDrive Awayâ€ is a track destined for the closing credits of a movie. The skillful stop/starts found on the track as well as the tremendous low end found on the track ensure that people will be dancing by the end of the track. The one issue of concern is that Gratitude relies heavily on the same general guitar work and vocal inflections to push forward a track. â€œDrive Awayâ€ only lasts for a smidgen over three minutes, but the track feels to drove on due to the fact that not enough in the way of new ground is broken on the track. Starting out strong again on â€œLastâ€ with interesting guitar riffs, laid out in an almost-staggered way, the track is given greater authority due to its aural similarity to Switchfoot. Dropping out the heavy end of the guitars mid-way through â€œLastâ€, the track almost seems disjointed in the almost arbitrary way that directions are chosen. â€œThis is The Partâ€ brings a more intense presence to Gratitude that sounds so right when they do it. Rendering â€œThis is The Partâ€ in a way that is deserving of massive radio-play, Gratitude shows that harder is better.
The sly vocals mix with angular guitars and almost bring the entire listening audience back to the days of Journey, until one hears the Jimmy Eat World-esque â€œAll Rightsâ€ that are shouted out. In â€œLost.â€, Gratitude elicits the strong, sing-songy elements of a Billy Joel (think â€œPiano Manâ€) while still couching the Adam Duritz-esque vocals in a crunchy emo-rock shell. While the same issue concerning the sameness of the guitar lines rears its ugly head again, the trackâ€™s other elements are so far above the average that this one minor deficit can be overlooked.
Gratitude attempts a number of different sounds and styles in the course of four tracks, and without the benefit of hearing their full album, I would have to say that the best idea for Gratitude would be to focus on one or two specific styles and run with them. As it is now, there are just too many leaps of faith necessary for an individual to make before enjoying Gratitude fully. A full-length CD could have these different styles and sounds, but would need desperately to ease their fanbase into things. Gratitude does have the ability to be one of those bands who deserve to have their name dropped amongst modern-day marvels like Coheed and Cambria and Brand New, but I guess one will have to see when their full album comes out.
Top Track: This is the Part