Gatsbys American Dream - In the Land of Lost Monsters (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Gatsbys American Dream

In the Land of Lost Monsters (2004)


Perhaps inspired by the likely swelling crowd of labels that came a-running after Gatsby's American Dream's Ribbons & Sugar was released to critical underground acclaim, GAD has now focused an entire disc's worth of sheer sarcasm and metaphorical hate towards the bile tactics record labels can take. Whereas GAD gained a cult following using short bits of pop and post-punk and nomad-like time-signature travels, they now rely on mellower, piano-laden, melancholic tracks that vary in style and execution drastically, which manage to prevent one of the softer EPs of the year to become at all boring but also propel it to one of the best extended plays of the year. With nifty drum fills (see the closing of "The Dragon of Pendor"), abrupt yet fine-tuned tempo changes (see "You Stole My Story," "The Dragon of Pendor") and the maturing vocals of Nic Newsham, Gatsby's continue to devlop into something words soon won't fathom. "Yes, This is About You" opens the seven-track wonder asking, "the signal is corrupted / the songs are uninspired / where's the fucking chorus?" where the closing track, "The Dragon of Pendor" (which could've been a fantastic B-side from the R & S sessions, with its jammed-out base and well-timed finger snaps) begs the very same triplet of lines, following it up with the warning of "but you can't fuck with my integrity." One of the most notable additions to the sound is a keyboard, which is utilized perfectly, whether it be fuzzed out moog or classical piano. In the acoustic-based coastal trip of "The Badlands," its use in the bridge of the song provides this unspeakable breath of almost power-pop upbeatness that works wonders for the song's otherwise depressive/nostalgic-like feel. This time around, the band is also a little more repetitive, lyrically-speaking. Whether or not they're doing it to fit the theme of the album and make it ironic is beyond me, but either way, it doesn't come off annoying in the least, even in "I Smell An Agenda," where the repeated interrogation of "does the right hand, know what the left hand is doin'?" helps further plague a bleak, piano-scale stepping piece of work. Certainly this band gets a little more pretentious with every release, but their musicianship, creativity, and take-no-shit outlook is more than enough to help a listener bypass it to really see what Gatsby's American Dream has accomplished and will continue to pull off. STREAM
The Badlands
The Dragon of Pendor