STARVATIONS, THE: Gravity’s a Bitch: CD

I’ve been waiting for Gravity’s a Bitch’s release for months now. See, not too many albums get me all worked up nowadays, and unless Greg Cartwright appears on a recent release, I typically pass up the new stuff for something stupid like a Little Eva 7”. But not the Starvations! No, no, especially taking into account 2003’s masterpiece, Get Well Soon. ANYWAY, I’d heard some of the new stuff at shows and had a feeling this record’s arrival was going to cure some of my audiophile/record collecting withdrawals. And it totally did! Fuck, Gravity’s a Bitch totally rules! The album’s success lies in the Starvations’ growth as songwriters and musicians; Gabriel Hart comes through again with chord progressions so perfect, I keep listening to individual songs over and over again—it’s like when Allan Freed would play songs to death, only I don’t get payola and have never been sauced on the air. Hart’s slide guitar is fucking ridiculous, too—“Nightshade Sweats” reminds me of some Kid Congo’s work on Las Vegas Story. His formidable, morbid narratives are back too, most notably in the “were going on vacation as soon as Blind Lemon Jefferson’s ghost comes through with the tickets” blast of “Lost at Sea;” Jean-Paul Garnier is quite possibly L.A.’s best bassist not named Tommy Branch. The dude works the fretboard like Rob Ritter did on Miami and has something most bassists don’t have: creativity! Piano/accordion player Vanessa Gonzalez continues to demonstrate how integral her multi-instrumental pallet is to The Starvations’ unique sound. And therein lies the Starvations’ secret: they know how to write idiosyncratic, solid tunes and play their instruments really fucking well. They also sound well-versed in America’s musical history, a lot like the Clash in ’79 and the Gun Club in ’81. If you know those bands, you know how fucking scary that is. And until I drive my roommates’ nuts with repeats of this record, I’ll finally be able to leave my In the Red Records altar unmanned for longer than a day. Goddamn.

 –ryan (GSL)