Gatsbys American Dream - Gatsbys American Dream (Cover Artwork)

Gatsbys American Dream

Gatsbys American Dream: Gatsbys American DreamGatsbys American Dream (2006)
Fearless Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

Simply put, Gatsbys American Dream is so fed up with the music industry that they've been inspired to almost completely forego their lyrical modus operandi on this, their fourth full-length, Gatsbys American Dream. While the band attained a reputation on their 2003 breakout, Ribbons & Sugar, for fil.
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Simply put, Gatsbys American Dream is so fed up with the music industry that they've been inspired to almost completely forego their lyrical modus operandi on this, their fourth full-length, Gatsbys American Dream. While the band attained a reputation on their 2003 breakout, Ribbons & Sugar, for filling their songs with multiple references to famous literary works (Animal Farm being the dominant story on R&S) in clever, smirking metaphors, the following year's EP, In the Land of Lost Monsters, surely sounded like a reaction to contract negotiations the band encountered when searching for a new label to call home. Last year's followup to that, Volcano, returned the band to high school libraries. However, the band is yet again fuming at the business aspects they continually experience, and thus writes blunt songs directly talking about practices or otherwise thinly veiled metaphors reflective of their thoughts on their personal accounts here on their new album.

Musically, the band seems to have progressed a little from Volcano, with several nuances to be mentioned. One is the "danciness" of the songs -- in other words, even as the band is more angular than usual, they're also much bouncier and rhythmic. Comparisons to a Volcano song titled "A Mind of Metal and Wheels" have already run rampant, and it's hard to disagree, but especially on "Me and Ed Loyce," the chord progression of which seems to directly reference that song. After all, self-alluding was a common practice on Volcano, but if there's any references on the self-titled, it's this one and the title of "Filthy Beasts," which nods to lyrics in the band's near flawless "The Dragon of Pendor" off Monsters. Additionally, while keyboard was introduced on Volcano, it's a little more prominent here, occasionally sounding distinctly macabre ("We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," "Station 5: The Pearl," "Shadow of the Colossus"). As well, it seems that every member of the extended lineup contributes vocals at some point.

"You All Everybody" starts the album off in the band's signature, subtle way, but punctuated with a breakdown that, outside of its musically upbeat nature, sounds quite like Jawbreaker -- after all, it's distorted-guitar heavy, declines forcefully and emotionally, and integrates a barely audible clip from a film of sorts (or so, the band would lead you to believe from the vibe and nature of its entirety...). "Badd Beat" is sure to be a fan favorite, and spends its 3:13 course criticizing booking practices, the line "it would be too easy making 10% off the tours we book for you / so we figure we'll take as much as we can because it's not up to you" standing out well. For all its dark, critical subject matter, the usual juxtaposition of a happy musical field -- especially on "Badd Beat" -- is one the band provides, but with such a harsh condemnation of the music industry in place, it sounds fresh. "Shadow of the Colossus" is one of the lone exceptions -- Gatsbys is lively and up-tempo, but somehow sounding simultaneously downtrodden, loose gang vocals √¡ la "Theatre" teasing "we got your contract! / we got your a-art!." Said type of gang vocals again make an appearance in the charged, catchy "Filthy Beasts."

Complaints seem to be quite abroad in regards to the "raw" production used by long-time producer Casey Bates and band member Bobby Darling on the album, but as someone who grew up on modern punk rock albums not slap-happily raped with a barrage of artificial-sounding studio tricks, the record sounds perfect to this reviewer. Even looked at as a pop album, it feels wholesome and natural in that it's free of Auto Tune and minimal on the Pro Tools usage (maybe even completely void).

While the band's allusions seem mostly relegated to titles only, and to items such as the television show "Lost" and a Playstation 2 video game, the artwork provides a direct reference to John Christopher's Tripods trilogy, three books that described the sci-fi story of the Tripods, three-legged machines that "descended upon Earth and took control." Oh, and, "The White Mountains" does directly reference one of those 3 books. The tripods adorning Gatsbys' own artwork are quite obviously their own metaphors for...well...you can figure it out on your own by this point.

While not quite as strong as the band's previous efforts (namely Volcano and R&S), Gatsbys American Dream's self-titled effort is wildly inspired, angry, and forceful. It's an album from a band who loves making creative music -- in this case, a progressive type of pop/rock that draws from an astounding wealth of styles, but holds the utmost wishes that it avoid the traps of "phone tag"-type distortion when transmitted from artist to listener. I think with Gatsbys American Dream, one of the independent music scene's currently most unique, daring, consistent, ambitious and fearless bands has accomplished just that.

Gatsbys American Dream


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Against Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThursday - A City by the Light DividedGatsbys American Dream - Ribbons & SugarBrand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeGatsbys American Dream - In the Land of Lost MonstersAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessBrand New - Deja Entendu

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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.
HumanUnkind (April 13, 2007)

This is my favourite Gatsby album, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (A Phillip K. Dick reference) is one of the best songs of 2006.

baseball (September 28, 2006)

just got this used

was never a huge fan of the previous stuff but this is growing on me like crazy

i think i need to re-listen to their other stuff

TrainWreck (September 14, 2006)

Their previous albums kicked the shit out of this one.

The only reason it got a good review here is because it ripped on the music industry. Way to keep to the generic "punk rawk" tradition.

ABedForLiars (September 2, 2006)

I think this is one of those albums where I have to listen to it a couple times in order to fully appreciate it.

Anonymous (August 18, 2006)

Since when do you buy a CD because of cover art? Who gives a shit what the cover looks like! This CD is great I would say the best to date. And I am sure they don‚??t hate Fearless, Fearless is the reason why all you idiots even know about this band!

usversusthem (August 15, 2006)

Well then they are all douchebags.

Anonymous (August 14, 2006)

Just for your imformation, the band chose the name to be spelled without the apostrophe. It's Gatsbys American Dream, not Gatsby's American Dream.

They did it in order to be found easier.

Not only is that in countless interviews but I asked them about it personally.

usversusthem (August 13, 2006)

Goddamnit, I don't know who is responsible for the lack of an apostrophe between "Gastby" and the 's,' but they should have to pay for pissing on the English language so irresponsibly.

Score is for terrible grammar.

Anonymous (August 12, 2006)

Agreed, horrible artwork. Great Album nonetheless ...

guitarer1c2 (August 10, 2006)

Not to Regret,

I found a boxed set of the Tripods Trilogy PLUS the prequel that John Christopher wrote in the 1990's. It's awesome, though the cover art is really cheesy. Check Amazon.com for it.

HeresLookinAtYou (August 10, 2006)

great review and album

Scruffy (August 10, 2006)

Did you watch the first season on DVD? Because you don't notice filler as much that way, but after some thought (I watched it on DVD), I'd say it had just as much. Plus, with Lost, you never know what's filler and what's foreshadowing and/or clues.

Marlon (August 9, 2006)

September 5th. But you can get Season 2 for free now with a little something I like to call Bit Torrent. It's not even morally wrong cause it's a tv show.

feeeding5000 (August 9, 2006)

When is the Lost season 2 DVD coming out? And did anyone else think that half of last season's episodes were either filler or poorly written? Oh, and score is for the Lost Experience game.

Not-To-Regret (August 9, 2006)

oh... the link... caveman push button.

Not-To-Regret (August 9, 2006)

*nostalgia* Loved the tripods trilogy, fuck was that like grade 6? man, gotta find those 3 books on the internet.. suggestions anyone?

Anonymous (August 9, 2006)

The band is taking a year off so 3 of them can get married and spend a good year with their wives before going back out on the road for 300 shows in 12 months.

A good year? If they're taking time off, they better at least change their names and lie about their backstory.

And self-titled albums that aren't a band's first album are silly.

Anonymous (August 9, 2006)

People need to stop the rumor mongering about this band breaking up. The band is taking a year off so 3 of them can get married and spend a good year with their wives before going back out on the road for 300 shows in 12 months.

Anonymous (August 9, 2006)

Does anyone else think the high school library thing should go?

I guess it's "cute / cool" and a step up that the named a song after a Philip K. Dick short story, but this band is a little more Total Recall and a little less We Can Remember It For You Wholesale

Anonymous (August 9, 2006)

eh Fearless is ok. Least they still have Bigwig.

kirbypuckett (August 9, 2006)

Guess they're ready to sign with Sire after putting out their album condemning the record industry.

I have to quit reading this site at work, people have been getting funnier lately and I know I look like a fool when I chuckle in my cubicle.


Cubicles aren't punk, I mean my dumpster.

- Kirby

XCARLUPANDDIEX (August 9, 2006)


Anonymous (August 9, 2006)

yeah, bring back junction 18

Fuzzy (August 8, 2006)

Guess they're ready to sign with Sire after putting out their album condemning the record industry.

Anonymous (August 8, 2006)

Unbelievably bad. The musical equivalent of "Poseidon."

Big_Guy (August 8, 2006)

Fearless is a terrible label now.

what happened to Junction 18?

GlassPipeMurder (August 8, 2006)

so are they pissed at Fearless, or what? i haven't heard too many beefs with fearless...

david_arquette (August 8, 2006)


Marlon (August 8, 2006)

No David. Just a refference.

david_arquette (August 8, 2006)

Also, is "You All Everybody" a cover of the Driveshaft song from the show? If so, this is the coolest band ever.

david_arquette (August 8, 2006)

Mr. Paik is definitely affiliated somehow. In flashbacks, there are shots of the island on some of the monitors in the background. Score's for Lost.

Anonymous (August 8, 2006)

they're breaking up soon, what??

I gotta say, I love this band. Ok, maybe not LOVE them, because that category is reserved for bands like Propagandhi...but this band is pretty good. I want to pick this up.

Anonymous (August 8, 2006)

this album is amazing.
this band is amazing.

too bad they're breaking up soon.

ozmanx (August 8, 2006)

This score is for Scruffy's comment.

baseball (August 8, 2006)

i've always been on the fence with this band

i like the music but have trouble getting past the sugary vocals

i'll be interested to see which way this album sways me when i hear it

Anonymous (August 8, 2006)

I really enjoy this band. Good pop sensibilities, but willing to branch out and keep things progressive. Excellent stuff.

R3venge_Therapy (August 8, 2006)

It's been awhile since I've listened to anything from this band, so perhaps I will check this out.

jamespastepunk (August 8, 2006)

Speaking of video games, does anyone else think those tripods on the front of the CD look awfully familiar?

tommyg117 (August 8, 2006)

The playstation 2 game they reference is "Shadow Of The Colossus", an amazing game.

jamespastepunk (August 8, 2006)

So which PS2 game were they referencing?

superdude (August 8, 2006)

This was a pretty good review, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Mention how they obviously only made this album so they could cash in on the Hawthrone Hights story.

2. If I wanted a book, I'd read.

Anonymous (August 8, 2006)

You are all fucking idiots, this band makes Fall Out Boy look like His Hero Is Gone.

Scruffy (August 8, 2006)

Sun's father is behind it all!
Jack's dad is alive!

almostpunkenough (August 8, 2006)

these fuckers did it again. considering how quick they pumped this out makes it even more impressive.

FatTony (August 8, 2006)

I love this band. I'm buying the shit out of this album on my lunch break tomorrow.

etwiels88 (August 8, 2006)

And Lost rules. The album art looks like the Freya album.

etwiels88 (August 8, 2006)

Best band.

ramo (August 8, 2006)

Aside from the ordinary cover sleeve, this album's too hard to pass up on. GAD has done it again and I've been spinning this album for the past 3 weeks in my CD player.


Inspection12e (August 8, 2006)

Buying this tomorrow.

Anonymous (August 8, 2006)

Whils Ribbons is their masterpiece, I do think this is better than Volcano was.

Marlon (August 8, 2006)

Apparently GAD watches Lost.

colin (August 8, 2006)

horrid cover art

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