Chicago is, in my humble opinion, one of the best cities for truly creative work. Granted, I am bias since it’s where I call my home, and also where I’m involved in the arts, but when it comes solid music, theater, and art, Chicago is where its at. Other cities have a lot of creative people doing creative things, but Chicago artists seem to still have a strong foothold in reality. There’s a difference between being artistic and jerking off. As far as I have seen, folks here know when to put the Vaseline away.
Case in point, Chicagos own Gypsyblood. It would be very easy for these gentlemen to take their noisy and fuzzy intensity to a sonic extreme just for the thrill of making the audience think they are deep and making everyone shift in their seats. Instead, Gypsyblood pushes out some damn fine dance tunes and melodies from the fuzz. Their debut album, Cold in the Guestway, is a tight amalgamation of influences with a sprinkle of Chicago punk grime.
When you listen to Cold in the Guestway you can hear drum/guitar explosions and vocals reminiscent of Trail of Dead on album opener, and strongest track, Take A Picture, the tongue-in-cheek jolliness of The Dandy Warhols on Superstition, and the baritone blast of Ian Curtis on 2-4-6 In the Dark.
The few weak points come when Gypsyblood tone down the tempo on songs like A Song Called Take 2. The repetitive guitar strum veers into the negative connotation of the words, and weighs the album down a bit. They get a bit bogged down in the distorted swamp they create. Where these gentlemen are at their best is on the upbeat and grandiose scale.
All the influences combined with the sounds of the warehouse the album was recorded in give Cold in the Guestway a very unique, and very Chicago, sound. Its a great album to listen to on a set of headphones while riding public transit at night in Chicago. I know not all of you can experience that, but I trust it would work walking through any city in the winter at night. Cold in the Guestway is a great album for it.