When I was first introduced to Gateway District, I was told that they sound like “Off With Their Heads but with one of the girls from The Soviettes on vocals” and that description was enough to get me interested. Now that I’ve got the cd and have listened to it several times I can tell you that the above statement was close to the mark but as the band states in their press release, they have their own thing going on.
Gateway District does not sound exactly like ‘Off With Their Heads’, but they do, at times play a similar sort of music. Sure, individual songs like “Macy” and “Waves and Cars” definitely could fit on an ‘OWTH’ release but in no way do they sound like a rip off band. As an album, “Perfects Gonna Fail” shows a much broader range, drawing influence from many different styles of punk rock. It makes sense, since besides actually having “one of the girls from ‘The Soviettes”‘ in the band, their members have also played in ‘Dear Landlord’, ‘Banner Pilot’, ‘Rivethead’, ‘Salteens’ and yes, even ‘Off With Their Heads’. So the band has a history of diverse music to pull inspiration from.
To me, “Perfects gonna fail” is almost a perfect album. The dual female vocals of Maren Macosko and Carrie Bleser are awesome, one woman has a poppier sound while the other has a more gritty quality to her voice (Sorry, I don’t know which is which) . They alternate who sings the lead part, but they both can be heard on each song, sometimes singing on the chorus and sometimes adding some great harmonies. I can’t find any flaws in the music either. The band sounds like they’ve been playing together for years as they speed through a cow-punk inspired number, “Blue Halls”, a track that reminds me of ‘Civet’ crossed with the early ‘Go-Go’s’, “Run Away” and a song that brings back memories of the mid-to-late 90’s punk scene, “Leaving Me Behind”.
My favorite song on “Perfects gonna Fail” is the fourth song, “Waves and Cars”. Lyrically, this song seems to me like it’s about losing a dear friend. Or possibly it’s about being homeless. I’m not entirely sure but either way, the song is great. As stated earlier, this one has a bit of that ‘OWTH’ sound to it but that comparison was the reason that I checked out the band in the first place, so it makes sense that I like this one.
Other high points of the disc are,
“I’ll Take The River”, I just really dig the sound of the vocals on this one.
“Queen Ave”, a slower song about missing someone.
And “Cairo”, this one has another great vocal and makes me feel like I’m listening to some long lost song from the early New York City punk rock scene.
This is a great cd (my actual rating would be 4.5 stars), the only reason that I didn’t give it five stars is because I don’t love the song “Blue Halls” (but hey, you might). And because it has a short run time, the twelve tracks clock in at just over twenty six minutes. I’ve been listening to punk for so long now that I should be used to short cds but it still bugs me… Anyway, I’d Recommend this release if you are a fan of any of the other bands that I mentioned in this review or if you like your female led punk a bit on the rough side.