Album Review: The Gateway District – Old Wild Hearts

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The Gateway District, self-described as “a supergroup in the same sense that McDonalds Ketchup is ‘fancy’” are constructed of current and former members of The Soviettes, Banner Pilot, Dear Landlord, Off With Their Heads and more. Hailing from The Artist Currently Known As Prince’s hometown Minneapolis, the four-piece play a fast, loose, poppy & peppy style of punk rock nicknamed, both positively and pejoratively, as “Ramonescore”. So far, so generic, you may think. However, this is a curious little record, as above those familiar chords and grooves lies the fascinating vocal talent of lead singer Maren, who manages to pull off a voice somewhere between AFI’s Davey Havok, My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and Joan Jett, and the intrigue pushes this record far beyond the limitations of its pigeon-hole.

Pop-punk is certainly not short of distinctive and unique female vocalists; Tiger’s Jaw’s Brienne, Brody Dalle and Lemuria’s Sheena to name but three, but The Gateway District may well boast the most interesting of the lot. On ‘Old Wild Hearts’, their third full-length, the hallmarks of their genre are ever-present throughout – the catchy, infectious songwriting, the insistent, nagging melodies and the rough-and-ready feel and atmosphere, but the warbles and wails of dual vocalists Maren and Carrie give it an edge in a field of many competitors.

<a href=“http://thegatewaydistrict.bandcamp.com/album/old-wild-hearts” data-mce-href=“http://thegatewaydistrict.bandcamp.com/album/old-wild-hearts”>Old Wild Hearts by Gateway District</a>

These 11 tracks have little to call between them – short, sharp and strictly old-school blasts of bouncy and punchy punk are the modus operandi, and the song-titles are also pretty Plain Jane, other than a nod to every hipster’s favourite novelist Haruka Murakami (on, you’ve guessed it, ‘Murakami’). All in all, this is a pretty run-of-the-mill record other than that voice. Tracks provide occasional entertaining passages, but are enjoyed on their own, rather than as one body of work – the definitive style of punk rock for the “shuffle generation”; the monotony of these tracks grates quickly when listened to as one unit, but can be fun when enjoyed singularly. My advice to The Gateway District’s Maren? Get out of punk, it’s not doing anything for you – a wonderful voice surrounded by average music deserves far better.

3/5

‘Old Wild Hearts’ by The Gateway District is out now on It’s Alive!

The Gateway District links: Facebook|Bandcamp

Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)

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