Review: Gone Is Gone – S/T
Gone Is Gone
Gone Is Gone
Cooking Vinyl Australia/Black Dune Records
If you’ve ever thought about how absolutely bonkers-cool it would be for members of Mastodon, At The Drive-In and Queens of the Stone Age to form a band together, your dreams have come true. You’re complete. If you haven’t, but you’re totally down with the idea, then check out the new Gone Is Gone EP, will ya?
When you’ve got Mastodon’s Troy Sanders on vocals, Queens of the Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, At The Drive-In’s Tony Hajjar on drums and Mike Zarin, the founder of Sencit Music, rounding up the bill, expectations are raised pretty bloody high. On that same note, what with all the different projects these artists originate from, there’s also going to be an undeniable level of confusion about what your first EP is going to sound like. Here’s a summary: Gone Is Gone is experimental. That term translates a musical complexity that can’t be expressed any other way. Where at some points you’ll acknowledge high levels of prog-rock influence, at others the soundscapes turn dark metallic. Just when you quietly note that what you’re listening to has become (comparatively) soft, a swooping, weighty chorus will knock you right off your Doc Martens-clad feet.
What will also put you off balance is the immense beauty of the guitars on this release. Though adventurous, the electrics are easy to follow, as you track them through solos, as they blend in high notes while remarkably sustaining the heavy vibe that the whole EP channels. There are layers of instrumentals that could be cut and pasted into an Arctic Monkeys album, and yet, this band sound nothing like Arctic Monkeys. That’s how dynamic this collection is. It’s fiercely intent on variation but it never sacrifices it for inconsistency. On epic closer “This Chapter”, you could temporarily mistake this act for Pulp for a whole of ten seconds, before they make you feel like you’re listening to every LP listed under Hard Rock in JB HI FI. Sanders’ vocals steer this sturdy musical ship in a visceral and cathartic way, managing to sound predatory but vulnerable, yet AFI-y and Nick Cave-y, all at once.
Sometimes “supergroups” (which, by the way, is a name Gone Is Gone do not appreciate) are something you avoid. There’s a possibility that the whole won’t be worth much more than the sum of its parts; that is to say, even though the members of a band are kick-ass, the product of their union might not be. That’s not the case here. If you’re sleeping on this release when it comes out in July, wake the hell up.