There is no sense of understatement when we say that the debut album from UK outfit The Gaa Gaas has been one long awaited and highly anticipated release, to the band as much as fans, but now finally here there is no sense of an anti-climax in its arrival and triumphant presence.
We admit we have been hooked on The Gaa Gaas sound since discovering the Jersey hailing, often Brighton/ London based outfit over a decade ago, the band itself emerging from the imagination of vocalist/guitarist Gavin Tate and co in 2003 after meeting at a garage punk club night called ‘Bomp’ in St Helier, Jersey. Subsequent singles, EP’s and live shows across the UK and Europe have only brought greater acclaim by the year and richer reputation by the creative escapade but as all artists know it is a perpetual struggle to realise the next step or ignite greater attention. The Gaa Gaas have met all obstacles and hold ups with resistance as the years have sneaked by but the determination to release their album and breach major spotlights has now found its moment with the latter of the two surely to deservedly follow.
The Gaa Gaas sound is as individual in its character and enterprise as it is unique in its voice. It is bred on the nutrients of post punk, punk, psych rock, noise and much more but as suggested emerges as its own senses menacing, imagination seducing sonic virus. From within a drone enlivened nagging, hooks bite with creative rabidity as rhythms tease with serial killer like intent. That alone proves an irresistible trespass but add the infernal melodic toxins which the band just as easily conjure, it all makes for one rapacious addiction which is no more enjoyable and compelling than within their self-titled debut album.
The album opens with Close Your Eyes, a lone strum of guitar providing a lingering scent of sonic jeopardy from within which a rhythmically swinging clamour bursts. Instantaneously it is a contagious affair, the bass of Jamey Exton leading the rhythmic infection further driven by drummer Stewart Brown’s bold strikes. The sonic smog escaping Tate’s guitar smothers as it seduces, his vocals dancing with almost contempt on the wires within that enveloping incitement. Resistance to the track’s bounce is non-existent as the track manipulates limb and spirit alike, a glorious start to the release firmly declared.
In its own Bauhaus hued architectural landscape, Statues proves just as gripping, bass and beats setting a virulent lure as guitar and vocals express their twisted psych breath upon industrial and post punk honed intimation. Tate’s keys are just as invasive and animated as the ravening sounds escaping his guitar, the track as magnificent as its predecessor and indeed the following V.O.L.T.A.I.R.E. A track we devoured years back, it is still as powerful and irrepressible now, from its first citric sighs through the rhythmic stroll which invades every instinct to move, and the tart melodies which wrap its pure contagion, the song devours ears and appetite like a swing loaded creative plague.
The Type Of Mood is just as insistent in its groove and infection, the keys of Peter Hass a tangy sweetness in the more caustic but no less tempting commotion expressed by Tate’s guitar. Again there is a vocal eighties post punk air to the track, a cold nostalgic din given greater depth and adventure by The Gaa Gaas’ senses trespassing imagination while the ever rousing Hypnoti(z)ed provides a less intrusive but equally as overwhelming and manipulative not forgetting delicious incitement. The bass of Ali Cooper is at its core temptingly harassing as beats bite and Tate’s vocals holler, everything off kilter and bewitching like an especially devious cobra before it strikes.
C.U.T.S. is built of the same devilment, every aspect niggling at the senses and each strand of its web crawling under the skin before unleashing its predacious rabidity and sonic fermentation. Drowned in its tide and blissful in its maelstrom, the track just had us lost in our own physical and emotional eruption before The One Eyed Stranger took ears and imagination on a stroll through dark avenues of enterprise and addiction. The sax of Luke Georgiou lights the way with delicious drama, its enterprise echoed in the tones of Tate and the persistently swinging rhythms of Cooper and drummer Matt Maguire. Once more Bauhaus come to mind in many ways across the track and though there is no real comparison to The Gaa Gaas’ sound, Pete Murphy and co are the closest to give some inkling of its identity.
In the 2018 version of Entertainment which graces this release, punk rock is the fuel to its discontent and creative agitation, the track biting back at a landscape as prevalent now as any previous time as the beats of Maguire take lethal pot shot. It is a song which in its early writing hints at the eventual wonderfully nagging quality of the band’s sound which is fully employed by next up Perception within its scuzzy senses haunting, habit forming rapture.
The album concludes with Indian Giver, a beguiling psych rock nurtured instrumental as potent on the imagination as it is the ears. There is a Cure like scenting to the track, especially in its rhythmic saunter, and dour breath which manages to be as radiant in beauty as it is dark in suggestion. It is a fascinating and enslaving end to a release which even with our already in place eager expectations of pleasure left us basking in richer joy, invasively impressed, and expecting the band to finally find deserved recognition in far broader and intense spotlights.
The Gaa Gaas album is out now on Movement-2 Records; available @ https://thegaagaas.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-album
Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019
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