What's Eating Gilbert - That New Sound You're Looking For (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

What's Eating Gilbert

That New Sound You're Looking For (2015)


Chad Gilbert is in love with Hayley Williams. I know that because he tells me so. Although That New Sound You’re Looking For is about all kinds of girls that have influenced him, it’s hard not to see Williams in each of them.

What’s Eating Gilbert is the New Found Glory guitarist’s side project that he’s been working on now for roughly five years. This is the first full length but there have been plenty of EPs to feed your Chad Gilbert fix. Those were mini bursts of 50s pop Here, he offers the long form version of songs about love and girls. What you see is what you get, and there’s no reason to dig deeper.

That New Sound is a misleading title. Although it does play into the 50s template of naming records, here it is almost ironic. From front to back, this is an album of old school pop cuts. There’s plenty of doo-wap backing vocals, relatable lyrics about love (“I wrote a song about girls”), and even cringe worthy metaphors (“It’d take five guys to handcuff me, I’d still be smiling in the cop car”). Even the song titles make you barf with joy: “You’re the Most,” “The Way She Loves Me,” “Miserable Without You.” You get the idea. Near the end, there are a couple sadder songs, but they’re relative to the elated vibe of That New Sound.

Gilbert’s sugar coated happiness is crystal clear. But instead of adding his own spin to the retro sound, Gilbert goes with the more straightforward approach. The glossy production let’s you know the record came out this year. So do the pop punk vocals. If you’ve ever complained about Jordan Pundik’s nasal voice, I’d steer clear of the lead single “You’re the Most” or “Ain’t Been Happy With Me.” Gilbert’s not the strongest singer, at least not in this genre. But, damn it, he’s got hooks galore. He does benefit from backing female voices, especially finance Williams’ which accompanies him on “Wearing Your Ring.” Yes it’s about their inevitable marriage. The dude is happy. Good for him.

Gilbert’s songs fare better when they’re released as seven inches in both aestetic and availability. On That New Sound, you get the idea after the first track and have eleven more to go. What’s Eating Gilbert is a textbook side project. The album is fun if not overall forgettable.