Sound — 9
Volcano was an extremely catchy album, which used a fairly large amount of choruses; something Gatsby's American Dream are known to stay away from. This album returns more to their "classic" form, and eschews once again, the "overused" musical arrangment of verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus-etc. But just when you think you've escaped to the land of no catchy choruses, the band comes back and hits you with "Station 5: The Pearl" (an obvious Lost reference). The gorgeous line of "They're big f--king stars, I swear to God they are" is echoed multiple times attached to a longer chorus. "Shadow Of The Colossus" is another incendiary bomb hurled at the music industry, with brilliant lyrics all the while. "Filthy Beasts" is a song that really can sum up the album fairly well. It's not insanely catchy as their past effort, it contain a semi-chorus, great lyrics, and phenominal back-up vocals. Moving on, "Looks Like The Real Thing" has lyrics that make sure you certainly do not want to be who Nic is singing about. The song is filled with emotive lyrics regarding lies. "Me And Ed Loyce" strikes me as a song with very GAD and Volcano-esque guitar riffs, while once again adding back-up vocals that give the music a whole new dynamic. The song is very ubpeat for a trail of the album, something I take as much improvement over Volcano which ended slowly. The album concludes with "The White Mountains", one song in which keyboards are really apparent. The ending of this song feels strangely anthemic with the mixture of vocals and instrumentals.
Lyrics — 10
The album starts off quite differently than their past efforts. With a spoken word intro backlit by fuzzy vocal production quality, it surely makes for a unique start. From the start it is clear where some of the lyrical focus of the album lies. A good deal of this album is a lyrical straight shot at the music industry; a fully loaded 12-gauge pump action shotgun to the chest. The lyrical onslaught becomes most apparent on track 3, "Badd Beat". Here's a quick sample so you know what I'm talking about: "Even though everyone knows we treat the bands like shit/Nobody has the guts to speak out/Because they're afraid that they won't get the tours at the end of the day."
Overall Impression — 9
In conclusion, Gatsby's American Dream's self titled release is nothing short of spectacular. Bobby Darling's lyrics are borderline genious, and Nic Newsham's vocals really shine. I think the instrumentals, while it did add a new dynamic with keyboard, are fairly standard, although better than most releases. This album runs into some problems with replayability. I've been listening non-stop, but I feel that people who only became fans after Volcano may find the album lacking. And speaking of their last release, which has some of the best production I've ever heard, this album in comparison fell short of that high bar they set for themselves. None the less this is an album you should without a doubt check out. Mark up two years, and two steller releases, for one hell of a band.