The Oklahoma five-piece indie pop outfit Gum took three years to write and record their self-titled debut LP Gum, which was recently released on Shaking Shanghai Records. Though Gum began playing shows together as a band as early as 2009, with stints playing such sought after slots at festivals as SXSW, Wakarusa and Norman Music Festival. According to the band, they wanted the record Gum to be “a heartfelt reflection of the turmoil and disappointment of being a twenty something year old human being trying to find your way in a world that is still defining itself. We all boldly and proudly hold the work we have done close to our hearts.” This explains perfectly why both the album Gum and the band Gum wear their Midwestern melancholy close to their hearts.
The lead off track "Care About Nothing" proves to be the most unique with its heavy synths and drums being the instrumental makeup of most of the track, the guitar and bass making only brief appearances to foreground which leads into the similarly synth soaked “Golden Years.”
Next on “Loves Her” the synths are traded in for poppy and punchy piano and mellow fuzzed out guitars. Though here the transition in sound feels so rough it’s as though a completely different band wrote the song. Gum comes back with the elegant “Her Mother, After All,” which feels inspired by ‘80s Britpop as does the lovely “So Long Ago.”
“Weird Dream” is a slow build that’s worth the wait as it builds into one of the most well constructed tracks on the album; it’s straightforward poppy chorus near the end recalls Iron and Wine. The slow and sappily self-reflective “Fly Me to the Ocean” sees a return to the dark sounding synths, which then turns back into piano on the jam session that builds up in “Over the Sea.” By the time one comes around to the final track, “I Think I’m In Love” Gum’s songwriting formula on Gum has become rather clear. That formula is to have every track build into a somewhat similar jam session and then end on a high note.
For all their effort and patience taking three years to record Gum, Gum had overlooked the problems which can and do arise while making a record, and that is that influences can change rapidly over a period of months leaving older songs sounding so different from the newer ones. That being said Gum is a very impressive collection of songs that are aesthetically pleasing to the ears. Make sure to give this one a spin.
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