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"Two Way Monologues Album Review"

Review Date: 2008-03-03

Gagner’s self-titled, hopefully first release is the only album I have ever genuinely put off listening to. I’m not sure what that tells you, but it should make you turn on your god damn heels and head you in the opposite direction fleeing with your ears plugged. Taking many deep breaths and readying myself by listening to Sunset Rubdown and Xavier Rudd , as to not forget what good music is, I press the play button in hopes that I save many of you from doing the same.

Is that overly harsh? Well, it’s pretty damn harsh but it’s actually warranted. Upon perusing their MySpace page, it makes me feel much better to find that the band seems to actually really hate themselves. At least they’re not living in some fantasy world where they think they rock, because they don’t. Or they rock just too much. It’s your call. Here’s a disclaimer though: before I really rip this band apart, they are braver than any other set around. Their balls must be astronomical in size. They bring themselves out with bloodlust to kill all those good sounds we know, if you can get them into your ears and live, you’ll probably be better off and appreciate what else is out there all that much more.

The highest point on the entire album is the opening twenty seconds or so, before the record is irreparably scorched with Drew D‘s loosely definable singing/dying into a microphone. It sounds almost identical to new Radiohead, but in everybody’s defence it could really just be a sample of said band.

“I was absent today and I cannot explain but please do not eat my brain” whispered Drew three-quarters of the way through “The Golden Boy”; it was groan worthy enough that I knew the rest of the CD would be a marathon of “try real hard not to just wing the rest of this thing, man” and it was.

For the entire duration of this twelve-song blasphemy, Ganger sounds like Primus with Down syndrome. (Please, no one that listens to Primus or that has Down syndrome take any offense to that. I realize it’s unfair to both parties.) The toughest part is that the drumming, guitar and bass are put together pretty well. It’s like criticizing a gorgeous woman with the head of a rat. The downfall is that all three members seem to think they can sing. Someone break it to these poor local boys that no, they cannot and no, they should never try again. It’s really sad -- some moments on the album, namely when there isn’t any singing or albeit singing but minimal off-tone squalor, the band is actually alright. Not great, not good, but tolerable.

For fifteen heathen seconds on “Mr. Roach”, Drew actually manages to sound like a tone-hungry frankenfuck version of Serj Tankian and Raine Maida, which should never ever happen anywhere at all...ever.

“Mil Creek” is actually well, in that Wolf Eyes noise-for-the-sake-of-music, bad-for-the-sake-of-good sort of way, a song that really sticks to me. I can’t put my finger on it -- it may just be pity -- but I actually may play it again. It’s catchy, it’s got emotion, and it’s fun to listen to. In fact, I may actually put it on my computer. I’m pretty sure whoever sings on “Sad Songs” thinks they are Miles Davis with throat cancer, and should stop. The rest of the album is the same thundering “meh” that the first six songs were. That’s really all that can be said about it.

The album itself reminds me of Buck 65 artwork, so props to that.

Score: 4.5

- Kade Davies - Kade Davies

"i(heart) Album Review"

Gagner are...interesting.

Even after I've listened to their self-titled debut a couple of times, I'm still trying to figure out whether it's the good kind of interesting, or the bad kind. In theory, any band best described as Tom Waits with music as raucous as his voice but heavily influenced by punk and hip-hop should be something you'd want to avoid completely. Yet there's enough here that I wouldn't say Gagner are a total write-off. I mean, songs like "I'll Be OK" and "Mill Creek" are just shy of being absolute trainwrecks (basically, imagine the musical equivalent of this picture, and you'll have a good idea of what the band generally sounds like). But at the same time, there are moments where the band seems to know what they're doing; in particular, "Sad Songs" embraces that Waits comparison and spends about two minutes (albeit out of four) living up to that standard, and "Mr. Roach" finishes up with some vocal harmonies that are completely at odds with everyone else here. Taken as a whole, Gagner may not be the easiest band to love, but there's still a very real chance that beneath their bloodied exterior, they have quite a bit of talent. - Matthew


Gagner Self-Titled July 2007



Born 2006
Album released July 2007
Murdered by angry penguins 2010