Let’s Get Beautiful
Swirling in 70s hard rock, 80s punk/new wave, with 90s alternative, Gibraltar release a beautiful catchy and dark treat in their new album Let’s Get Beautiful. Inspired by the likes of such acts as Lou Reed and Television, Gibraltar wave back and forth from exploding pop, to tip toeing works of somber delicacy. Let’s Get Beautiful demonstrates this mix with such excellent pacing, never slowing down the energy and surprise in the music. When describing the band as “pop”, one must not get confused with the sound of pop found on today’s radio. This is that special sound of upbeat instrumentation (or when there were more instruments used then computers). The keyboard combines with an electrifying guitar, flowing along with a funky bass line and bright drum beats. Gibraltar takes this sound, and spins in directions of high rock intensity, to gentle subdued progressions. While the music doesn’t require a history lesson to get acquainted, Gibraltar are able to stand on their own in creating a genuinely gorgeous sound to attract listeners.
Emotionally there are a lot of feel-good vibes entwined with some underlining sense of pain. These two feelings make themselves aware right from the beginning with “Zero-Sum” and “The First Ten Years”. In the former we find a guitar twang that radiates throughout the track, accompanied by bright piano playing and ramped up drumming. The song cries out with determination and strength with the blend of lyrical storytelling and instrumentation to match mood. On the flip side of this we have “The First Ten Years”, which pulls off a backflip in regards to atmosphere. The piano loses its sense of brightness and joy as a solemn chant is heard in the background. Even as the instrumentals pick up with the drums clashing and keys lightening up, the vocals wash over it all with a filter of sadness. Lyrics like: “Someday I lost my mind/ But I won’t forget/ What we did/ I watched it all fall apart/ I see it ever, every day,” hit with riveting emotion.
The instrumentals alone already provide a wide sense of feeling on their own, but are further enhanced by the vocals. In tracks like “Songs For A Car”, they ramp up to meet with the aggressive energy belted out from the piano work. With this already backed by a layer of eclectic fuzz in guitar and bass, the song generates a triumphant sing-a-long jam. One of the coolest and terrific parts of the record is the band’s cover of The Smith’s “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”. At first, without the heftier use of instrumentals, the vocals sound exactly like The Smiths. Their gentle approach starts things off on a misty approach of low energy. Once things kick into high gear with shrieking guitar work, and intensified drumming, the song takes on a vibe that combines the joy in something familiar, while feeling fresh. Throughout its entire run time the album constantly explodes with new surprises. “They’re Alright (Without You)” is perhaps the fastest and loudest song on the record with ripping drum beats and raging piano keys. “Rainbow F.U.” blends a beautiful shine in guitar tone that throws in vibrant distortion at times.
Let’s Get Beautiful is a heavenly reminder of when pop music was at its most glorious. Whereas the influences can be felt through the music however, Gibraltar always maintain a sense of their own identity. Gibraltar found a way to combine all their sounds into each track, generating diversity throughout the album’s pacing, and within the songs. It isn’t as simple as Gibraltar bringing back such a pure and loveable sound… but the fact they take it and make it their own. The instrumentals combine with beautiful storytelling and vocalization to create a heartfelt connection with the audience. The band’s sense of electric pop bursts out with emotion and energy, coming from intricate piano and guitar work, and a display of vocal delivery. Standing on their own, each of these components is astounding, but together establish a work of music unique in beauty and enjoyment.