The Pale Pacific - Gravity Gets Things Done (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Pale Pacific

Gravity Gets Things Done (2004)


The very first chords in "Space To Move," the first track of the Pale's "Gravity Gets Things Done," grabbed me. At first, I wasn't sure if they grabbed me just because they sounded like a familiar Death Cab or Pedro the Lion Song. Actually, more than one time, I found myself wondering if a few of the songs were even cover songs, because they just sounded so damn familiar. Regardless of the fact that some of these songs are not the most original, I still found myself liking it, and even singing along after a few listens. And, thus, The Pale began to take hold.

Upon a quick or shallow first listen to this record, you might not remember the album and simply pass it off as unoriginal. Honestly, I don't think this CD is anything that is going to blow your mind away, either. But that's not what it is meant to do. And that is part of the appeal. I like that the band keeps its simple. They don't strive to make this an outrageous album or something totally "different." More often than not, those kinds of albums fail, anyway. This music is not pretentious. They are not trying to impress listeners with strange time signatures or Mixolydian mode scale patterns. This album succeeds because it is simple, it is fairly poppy and easy to listen to, and because these musicians do a good job making everything come together. I am not trying to negate the abilities of The Pale. In fact, I am trying to highlight them.

So, now that I have explained why this album is good, you find yourself asking, "Okay, but what does it sound like?" Think of a poppier version of Death Cab for Cutie (such as "The Sound of Settling" off of Transatlanticism) mixed with a bit of The Rocket Summer and perhaps a little bit of Jimmy Eat World. While the lyrics are not always ingenious, they hold up for the most part. There are a few lines that could use some work, such as "I need this like I need a kick in the knees." They're not exactly poets, but in some ways the simplicity of their lyrics is also refreshing. It's nice not to always have song lyrics that are so bizarre that you can't relate to them. I think it is safe to say that almost everyone will be able to relate to The Pale's lyrics. Now whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you. The singer goes back and forth between sounding a bit like Bryce Avary (The Rocket Summer) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) in vocal melodies. One of the highlights of the CD is the trombone on "Wake-Up Call," which adds a nice touch to the song and helps to make it one of my favorites on the album. Other highlights are "Space To Move," a poppy number and a good track to start out the album. "Reasons To Try" is also one of my favorites, complete with "bop bop bop" back up vocals (I love cheesy back up vocals like that), and the last track "Stop/Start" (also a favorite) ends the album quite well: a soft, melancholy song, with lyrics like "I'm still sad every day. But I've never been so broken and still so alive" and "I'm growing old before your eyes."

Don't listen to this album if you are looking for something weird, or totally "different." Listen to "Gravity Gets Things Done" if you are looking a for a refreshingly simple album with music that is easy to listen to, lyrics that are easy to relate to, and hooks that you can sing along to.