Have you ever wondered what happened to all of those copies of Dinosaur Jr's Where You Been that were in used CD shops in the late '90s and early '00s? Listening to the self-titled debut of Lancaster, PA's The Gone, it seems that the power pop punk rock trio bought each silver disc, cooked them down into a viscous vat, and have been injecting them into their retinal veins ever since.
It's refreshing to hear some legitimacy being paid to Grunge. In the wake of Nirvana, the radio was riddled with posers affecting a disaffected Seattle pose and slack flannel fashion. These were sheeps in wolves clothing - essentially Arena Rock repackaged to make people feel like they were being edgy. But there was this strange, trippiness to early '90s rock, like the first albums from Blind Melon and Alice In Chains. Punk rock ferocity met metal's chops and a drug-addled sense of humor. The sound of Grunge was like the soundtrack for late night insomnia, watching infomercials because there's nothing else on, that would be a shame to be lost to History.
The Gone's vocals have a similar, glistening, tarry quality to those early, great Grunge bands. It's a victory for real underground rock, as we remember that, hey, those first couple Alice In Chains records were really damn good, but Marcy's Playground or Three Days Grace suck. It'd be nice to think the forgettable, consumerist pop would be the one that ends up in the dustbin of history, and not the obscure gems.
The Gone perfectly blend the powerful and the pop, even more so than the original Alt-rockers. There's a catchy, melodic spirit, in the shadow of emo/pop punk, showing that The Gone have similarly mined that rather maligned genre of its charms, and ditched the riff-raff.
It's rather impressive - The Gone play a handful of styles of what have a tendency to be some of the most annoying musics on the planet. This even includes modern day, middle-of-the-rock Stadium Rock like the Foo Fighters or Queens Of The Stone Age.
The Gone seem to be doing something infinitely more interesting with the forms than either of those bands, who simply returned music to its pre-Nirvana state, imo. The Gone show us that you can have an energetic, stripped-down rock 'n roll that is still interesting, with accomplished musicianship and fantastic songwriting instincts.
The Gone remind us that small bars on Friday and Saturday nights will always be holy places. There will always be real magic, real passion, real friendship and energy and release beneath the neon, while we catch a buzz and rock the hell out! It's important, goddamit. We're all working for the weekend for a reason.
For those that like their rock raw but smart, stripped-down but impressive, you need to hear The Gone's debut
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