Album Review — Bass Drum of Death, GB City

Fell in love with a girl, fell in love once and almost completely. But this girl is nowhere to be found on Bass Drum of Death’s GB City. Also missing: the bass drum of death. Ironic band name, I get it. Anyway, not much places this album above the hordes of soup du jour bands drowning in tape saturation and reverb. There are bits and pieces of interesting like the intermittent bass line on “Spare Room” which slides in dirty and booming in between verses. Also, the vocals work well on this album as the singer delivers them forcefully in a strained, broken up yell that is necessary in this genre. Nonetheless, while most acceptable lo-fi pop rock takes a precarious balance between simplicity and melodic fervor, GB City falls prey mostly to uninvolved melodies and guitar parts.

When compared to Ty Segall’s Melted, which has essentially the same elements and production as GB City, you can really see what kind of record Bass Drum of Death were going for. Melted has a mix of catchy claps, melodies that recall Lennon, and a wide range of speeds and textures. Segall’s pop, when reduced in fidelity, fits in beautifully near the top of this contemporary lo-fi sound. GB City shows promise so I don’t think I would put it past Bass Drum of Death to create songs similar to the ones written by Segall. As it stands though, likely the only reason Bass Drum of Death made it as far as my ears is that GB City shares production characteristics that are well represented by what is currently popular.

Bass Drum of Death are probably fun to see live and indeed I have enjoyed many bands at shows that I probably wouldn’t have been inclined to put on the stereo at home. Generally, the sweaty bumping around to the faster paced, chord heavy songs proves to be a redeeming experience and likely if you see Bass Drum of Death at SXSW or wherever, you won’t be disappointed.

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  • AMF Mag

    Started in early 2011, AMF Magazine is a collective of post-college writers living in California. AMF was created to provide a forum for discussion of contemporary music and to give praise where praise is due.
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