Lonely, confused, anxious, frustrated and existential are all words that come to mind when thinking about Gabe Price’s new album titled Understood. Based out of Nashville, TN, Price utilizes the Real Estate dynamic and writes catchy music accompanied by melancholy lyrics, providing his listeners with a rather enjoyable, introspective experience. Throughout his new album, Price sings about dependency, misunderstanding and loss, all within a distinctly warm, DIY framework.
The first thing I noticed when listening to the album was how warm everything sounded and that may be due to Price’s obsession with analog recording. The sound itself is by no means pristine and most pretentious audiophiles may be irritated with the less-than-perfect audio quality. However I feel that it adds to the album’s aesthetic. The record is highly personal, intimate and vulnerable, and I think the recording and production techniques utilized throughout Understood provide the listeners with a more affectionate listening experience. Songs such as “Don’t Wait For Me” and “Oakland” are nice examples of the album’s sense of modesty.
What stood out to me the most on this release was the quality of the songwriting. Price’s lyrics are very well composed and coherent, retaining a proper sense of ambiguity, yet at the same time consistently lending his listeners a rather discernible direction of the emotions and attitudes that he seeks to express. Structurally speaking, the songs found within Understood are pretty straightforward (with the exception of a couple), and this plays to Price’s benefit, as there is no reason that the type of music that Price composes need be overly complicated or obscure.
If I had to describe Understood in one word, it would be “honest.” Every aspect of this release, whether it be the production, the lyricism, the music, or the delivery, is exposed, and as such, the album lends itself really well to be internalized by its listeners. Even songs such as “Safe Travels” or “Don’t Push Me,” in which Price demonstrates his versatility as a songwriter, although large in sound and heavy texturally, are, at their core, susceptive songs addressed toward a third person subject that reek of letting go and facing reality.
I truly believe that Understood is a very solid release from Price and I hope that it receives the attention that it deserves. However, being located in Nashville, an area which seems to ooze original music out of every corner and crevice, I know that Price will have to do everything that he can to distinguish himself from the others. But if Understood is any indication of the work that Price will put out in the future, I think he will be just fine.
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