The Gusto - The Way It Is (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Gusto

The Way It Is (2008)


Punk rock is a term often hard to define. With so many genres, sub-genres, niche sounds and clichés, it can be rather difficult to define a band that plays punk music deeply rooted in rock n' roll. Madison, WI's the Gusto have successfully helped redefine the original definition of the phrase with their debut full-length, The Way It Is.

Basing their sound on the simple principles of fast, loud and fun music, the Gusto aren't necessarily bringing anything new to the table, but simply reminding you of what you liked about it in the first place. Crunchy, aggressively driving guitars, coupled with heavy bass lines and shout-along choruses, The Way It Is has a very infectious quality to it, one that will find you humming it hours after hearing a song. Tracks like "2chords," "Carry On" and the album's title track are just a few of many gems.

Lyrically, the band's subject matter is similar to their obvious influences: Social Distortion, Face to Face, Screeching Weasel and (older) Green Day. As previously stated, the album is heavy in punk and rock tendencies, with just enough pop sensibility to open the music to wider array of listeners. However, the delivery and overall feeling of the music is very tongue-in-cheek, sending the listener a sneering wink as opposed to the expected (and often overused) middle finger.

For a relatively unknown band, the Gusto have crafted a record that if toured on enough, and listened to in just the right circles, could easily catch on to be one of the most underrated releases of the year. Definitely recommended.