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Gatsbys American Dream - Ribbons & Sugar (Cover Artwork)

Gatsbys American Dream

Gatsbys American Dream: Ribbons & SugarRibbons & Sugar (2003)
Rocketstar Recordings

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Hein Terweduwe announced this bands previous effort "Why We Fight" as one of his favourites and declared Gatsby's American Dream, his favourite new act of 2002. Based on his prodding, I gave the first record a chance, and it had little or no last effect on me. It wasn't that it lacked honesty, or.


Hein Terweduwe announced this bands previous effort "Why We Fight" as one of his favourites and declared Gatsby's American Dream, his favourite new act of 2002. Based on his prodding, I gave the first record a chance, and it had little or no last effect on me. It wasn't that it lacked honesty, or that the musicianship was lacking. It was simply that it seemed to tread the same water that so many bands who 'borrowed' their sound from Lagwagon had. In some fairness, the band did mix things up a little, but not enough to differentiate themselves in my eyes.

Nevertheless, when I recieved Gatsby's latest record, "Ribbons and Sugar, audaciously named after a theme from George Orwell's stunning indictment of communism, Animal Farm. I vowed to listen to it with an open mind.

The first thing to mention is that, while the album flits through themes from the novel, it is mostly a tangental relation, which is fine by me, since I have little or no interest in an audio version of Animal Farm Cliff's Notes.

So onto the record. The best way to illustrate the progression of this band between this record and the last, would be to compare the change between Jimmy Eat World's Static Prevails, and Clarity; that is, a completely drastic change from fairly strong pop-punk to melodic pop in the most literal sense.

So drastic is the change, that I imagine a significant chunk of this band's punk fanbase will be completely turned off, and frankly, that would be a mistake. Ribbons and Sugar will be described a "maturing" or as "experimentation" but I would like to can the euphamisms and say it plainly. It's a beautifully produced, musically adventurous and clever record. It's catchy, and taken without the bands lineage, a strong debut for a reborn band.

At it's simplest, the band does play what some people confusingly call "mathcore" and I'm not going to fall into the trap, because all it really means, is that the band plays post-punk with surgical precision. Every note, snare hit, and vocal line is impeccably assembled, and you have to assume that any band that credits (or even has) a 'vocal coach' is probably aiming for perfectionism.

The band experiments with tempo changes, time signatures, and a variety of intruments to assemble their pop collage, and for the most part, you get something between experimental indie and straightforward catchy rock. Putting a label on the sound isn't fair to you or to the band, since it's not really a genre they're playing in, but combining a mish mash of influences from Green Day and Lag Wagon to Ben Folds and the Beatles.

For the most part, the band suceeds in it's ambitious effort to redefine itself; it handily straddles genre barriers, and manages to be catchy, and intense, albeit poppy and a little pretentious. You have to take any band that names itself after a Fitzgerald character a little less seriously, because otherwise the sheer pretention will overwhelm you. But stripping away the overly delicate and magniloquent emphasis on perfectionism, which is occaisonally like sitting in a museum - that is, pretty. but sterile and a little impersonal - you have an damn good record.


• A second opinion from our friends at punkupdates.com.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
keithybobeefy (December 10, 2011)

Animal Farm is one of my favorite books. This album, while not one of my favorites, is still pretty damn good.

viper77 (September 2, 2007)

unbelievable!!!

Anonymous (May 11, 2004)

I bought this album after hearing only two songs. One from their first album and The Taming. I was quite happy with the album and it's even better when you put it away and then start listening to it all again. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us.

blood_brothers_are_good (November 20, 2003)

if you're ignorant to say that you wont read a classic book like animal farm, then i dont trust your judgement on this album. as it is, this shit is amazing.

Anonymous (September 25, 2003)

Actually, I rather liked Gatsby, and animal farm. Despite them being high school english novels, they were well written and interesting.

I also love this band, but I haven't gotten a chance to pick up "Why We Fight" yet.

Anonymous (August 6, 2003)

album is awesome

Anonymous (July 22, 2003)

I like this album, but all the gay artwork turned me off. But i'm happy the singer left some of those whinny "YEAHS!" at home on this album. God that guy seriously has the potential to ruin a good album. I say boot him.

Anonymous (July 10, 2003)

i have no opinion on this, but i cant stand the possible pretention of naming your band after *that* gatsby, then naming your album after orwell, its like WE LOVED HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH.

im sure there nice people, but i have to ignore them completely so i dont say bad things.

wyzo

Anonymous (July 7, 2003)

yes don caballero does rock the hardest, anyhoo...

i picked this cd up along with 15 others, all for $5 or less at amoeba records, we're talking the dwarves, as friends rust, at the drive-in, gadjits, tossers, suicide machines, glow skulls, and so many more, a-hahahahahahahahaha, being this cheap really is a sin

-el vaquero

bing_crosby (July 7, 2003)

If you want to hear some real "Mathcore" or Math Rock as it is more commonly called, check out Don Caballero, or Lustre King or Volta Do Mar, (who even make vocal parts slightly technical), or Lynx or Hella, the all mighty gods of technical music.

Haven't heard anything of this album but the little bits I heard from the first EP, was it?, didn't blow me away too much. Good, but nothing great. Might check this out though, sounds interesting.

-Bing Crosby

FortyMinutesWest (July 6, 2003)

I didn't like the Watership Down movie, it cut a lot of stuff out and skipped around too much for my tastes.

lieutenant (July 6, 2003)

I have never seen the Animal Farm animated version, for whatever reason. Usually, whenever a favoured novel becomes a film I will jump at the chance to watch it, just as I love (or hate, as it may be) to watch actors take on the roles of written characters. Perhaps with Animal Farm, the lack of recognizable voice talents and such have taken such incentive, or maybe I am just lazy. I know that it is not because I am concerned about its quality though, as I have heard praises as well as comparisons to the beautifully executed film adaptation of one of my favourite novels, Watership Down... a similar tale when you strike out the clear focus of communision in Animal Farm and broaden the subject. Anyways.

inagreendase (July 5, 2003)

don't forget the live-action version, made for tv on TNN or TNT or whatever several years back, and it was actually the first portrayal of it for myself

timis (July 5, 2003)

this cd rocks the casbah....pick this tasty treat up.....

aubin (July 5, 2003)

And if you don't want to read it, the animated adaptation from the 50s is pretty good. It's one of the better novel-to-film adaptations I've seen.

Anonymous (July 5, 2003)

animal farm rules. nothing like swines taking control with bloodbaths and commandments. i suggest you all read it.

Ramo

inagreendase (July 5, 2003)

mr. pedigree in english lit really wants us to read animal farm, huh? jp aub, it's a good short read that also happens to be a staple of necessity in Americana

Anonymous (July 5, 2003)

yea lagwagons the shit....

hein (July 4, 2003)

Yeah, well I'm definately stuck with everything that is now labeled as being "Lagwagon"-ripoff. After all these years I'm still in love with all Fat bands and Gatsby's previous effort might be a lot closer to that sound than this album, but I think what made that album outstanding is only confirmed in this release. It might have sounded as being generic melodic punkrock, but when you listen thoroughly, these beautiful vocals and creative songwriting that are so obvious in "Ribbons & Sugar" already were present in "Why We Fight". If you want to know what I thought about this one in the end check punkupdates.com.

mxdsignals (July 4, 2003)

I think that the world would be a much better place if everyone had a little bit of this CD in their lives. Gatsby's American Dream has yet to let me down.

travis (July 4, 2003)

scoot, did you just say "like woah?" are you turning scenester on me?

this album is great, by the way. good review aubin.

maverick (July 4, 2003)

This album is really, really good.

Like woah.

-Scott

Anonymous (July 4, 2003)

This score is for the Rocketstar Recordings label. Also, this is a good band and I think it's great that they're getting this sort of attention. Now, maybe people will check out Time to Fly (one of my favorite bands) who is also on that label.

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