What if The Cure were from Baltimore? What if Robert Smith sang almost-short-story songs about isolation, the ethereality of cultural status? What if songs were jotted with a marker, waiting for a bus instead of melancholic bubbles of smoke? Not to overstate the origami, but the folds in the paper are this: take punk and figure out how to age gracefully, how to not sound like a joke, a disaster, or shame. Make it a cool design. It may not change the world, but it takes ordinary materials, crafts them carefully, and aesthetically reshapes how we regard them. Gates of Home is a more complex response than a total divorce from the previous music made by Mike Hall (The Thumbs) or complete suburban/”I have a kid” amnesia when the “real world” gives punks their mid-life crises. The respect-worthy answer is Gates of Home. It’s a revisitation to melodies with serrated edges. It’s not glued-up-mohawk circle-pit punk. It’s not sweater-pill fluff indie. It’s, thankfully, in-between the two and simultaneously far from both. My only complaint? Some of the songs sound too similar to one another. I think a little more adventure would pay big dividends.
–todd (Toxic Pop)