Extract a bit of the Pixies, dilute, mix with XTC, and energize with enough guitar to keep the sound just above melancholy and you have Gumshen. Any band that attempts to cover Pink Floyd/Shine on You Crazy Diamond is either completely crazy or completely able to cover the most innovative band in the last 50 years without sacrificing originality. Sometimes listening to the way a band covers another band, tells you almost everything about their own music. I was impressed with the Floyd cover and their adherence to the structure of the original. “Not Every One of Us”, from the album “What You Make It”, made me smile from the first note. I knew I was going to love the song before I ever climbed into it. I could hear a mix of everything that I loved about 1991 with a side note about Nirvana being gone for good. Every time I started to taste a little bit of nostalgia, I was jerked back into now. Gumshen sounds like a an expired summer night on a sidewalk in Seattle. Grunge is on its way in or out. Either way, it isn’t all the way anywhere. Everyone is wearing flannel because we still have Pearl Jam and Gumshen is playing out of an open window of a Nova. Gumshen is an eclectic mix of grunge, classic rock, and true indie. Lead singer and guitarist, Ron Hippe, has the sort of voice that is independent without trying. And the odd time signatures make Gumshen just offbeat enough to stand out. “Bell Ringer”, off of the soon to be released “Progtronica”, is more reminiscent of late 80’s electronica. Only remnants of their earlier sound is detectable. But even on one of their first albums, “March of the Februaries”, you could hear a slight lean into Kraftwerk. Gumshen has a bright future in the present. I hope within the vast quantity of music, they get a chance to shine on.
About Ara Harris
Music junkie, Atari 2600 bringer backer, word maker upper, loves to photograph and write about suburban decay. Ara grew up on a corner lot in small town Ohio. She began escaping the micro minds of the Midwest by listening to music, watching b films, and touring the cities in her mind. She wrote poetry on the back of algebra tests and asked Lou Reed to take her to prom. Two decades later she self published a full collection of poetry that one reader described as “a Tom Verlaine riff in every synapse”. She believes that we all have a gift, we just have to find it.