Gatsbys American Dream - Why We Fight (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Gatsbys American Dream

Why We Fight (2002)


Seattle-based Gatsby's American Dream derived their name from F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel "The Great Gatsby". The ill-fated main character named Gatsby had an American dream. "He made the decision to do whatever it took to make his dream come true", explains Bob Darling (one of the 2 guitarists in the band). "But he didn't do it for the sake of being wealthy and powerful, he did it for this girl Daisy. He was motivated by something pure, his own dream of being with Daisy. And that's the kind of dream that I want. And that's what this band I'm in is all about. GAD is to live by your heart." So there's the story.

And I can tell you that this debut album of these 5 youngsters, all in their early 20's, is really a masterpiece that stole my heart. Not only do they deliver a powerful melodic gathering of songs, they also manage to offer them with quite some original mixture of styles and showing astonishing technical skills. You really don't need to be a musical expert to notice the proficiency of both guitarplayers and rhythm-section. The diversity of keys and tempo-changes in the guitarplay, sometimes toggling the snares staccato, then playing riffy metal-influenced loops (a bit reminding of early LagWagon), stop and goes, dissonance evolving into plain melodic rocking sounds ... it's really amazing stuff. And you can add to this some class A drumming, with a guy that seems to manipulate his pedals as easy as his sticks, adding sometimes very subtle wood-ticks on the side of his drums. And then there's a singer that has a warm full voice and lyrics that for once have some good story-telling in them and that have truely thoughtprovoking poetic lines. Also he manages to add that little more emotional feel to this sound, a bit contrasting with the instruments.

The man at the knobs, Aaron Sprinkle, who also did MxPx's "Pokinatcha" as well as work for bands like Waxwing, Squad 5-0, Pedro the Lion, Zao and Stavesacre, is responsible for the faultless sound.

I would suggest all of you to pick up this album from the recently founded Rocketstar label. Fans of the more recent stuff like Finch, Thrice and even The Starting Line or Movielife will be certainly charmed by the emotion and vocals in the release, while fans of maybe Lagwagon (especially for the song "Nickarockya"), Propagandhi and even Strung Out will undoubtedly admire the technical guitarplay and rhythm-section. Future is looking bright for these guys. I just hope they can hold on to the tightness in these songs in future releases, because I've got the impression that a lot of these well-skilled bands tend to head for a more artistic (read less catchy) approach. Let's cross fingers and hope they are not lead into temptation.

Just wanted to tell you that you can listen to songs 2, 4 and 7 on their page, but for me their best songs are 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8, not surprisingly their somewhat harder melodic work.