AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Gasoline Heart - Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 7.5
Lyrics 8.25
Production 8
Creativity 6
Lasting Value 7.25
Reviewer Tilt 6.5
Final Verdict: 73%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.88
Musicianship 7.83
Lyrics 7.96
Production 7.58
Creativity 7.38
Lasting Value 7.54
Reviewer Tilt 8
Average: 77%
Inside AP.net

Gasoline Heart - Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (09/23/09)
Gasoline Heart - Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be
Record Label: Hopeless/P Is For Panda
Release Date: Sept. 5, 2009

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Bruce Springsteen sure must be beaming. In the last few years, the number of bands copying his playbook seems to be increasing. While their sound deviates from the Boss’ script in more than a few places, Brooklyn’s The Hold Steady have numerous songs that ooze with a Springsteenian jangle. Just down the Jersey Turnpike, Brian Fallon and The Gaslight Anthem have formed a nice career writing Springsteen-inspired bar room rock. And now, Orlando, FL’s Gasoline Heart have once again attempted to tackle the Garden State’s favorite son with their sophomore album Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be. And now comes the bad news. Regardless of what you might have heard, Gasoline Heart isn't that great. Sure they cite friends like Stephen Christian, Aaron Marsh and have worked with Steve Albini, but truth be told, the band's sophomore effort, Nostalgia Aint What it Used To Be, is a disjointed, copy-cat album that only has a flew glimmers of substance.

Beginning with the Springsteen-esque opener "Never Been Worse," vocalist Louis Defabrizio croons “I guess we all have our shit,” over a gentle and vernal mid-tempo pace. While the song is a rather emotive and arresting listen, the comparisons to Springsteen are hard to deny, and the song almost comes across as a straightforward homage. Certainly one can dismiss the band for this slight mistake, but when it happens again repeatedly, as it does numerous times on Nostalgia, one begins to question, what exactly the band is trying to achieve. Let it be known, trying to distance Gasoline Heart from Springsteen takes a lot of work.

Though the chore becomes easier on second track "Can’t Keep a Good Kid Down" and third track "Just Like a Ghost" which both kick and punch with a gritty, sweaty energy that's effusive, raw and spunky, their version of punk seems a bit sloppy. Whether this is due to Matt Goldman’s recording work, T.W. Walsh’s mastering, or the absence of founding members Joey Bradshaw and Andy Simonds, both of the songs sound like a band trying too hard.

One of the album’s better moments is fourth track "Armadillo," which wears a veneer analogous with Tom Petty, a comparison, which to date has been the band's most consistent musical doppelganger. Fifth track "Stop Pretending" aims to slow things down and does so rather well. A leave-it-all-on-the-table ballad, the song is a cascading, autumnal effort that proves when they want to, this band can really shine. The bare-bones acoustic yarn “Difficult,” bleeds with desperation, helplessness and strife, before returning to the disappointing punk edge on seventh track "Look Up Baby, You’re Bleeding," and eighth track, “Backbooth,” which don’t really offer anything incredibly substantial to the table.


And then as if scripted, the album’s last three songs are nothing short of stunning. Ninth track "Sunshine State," is a definitive shining moment and finds the band offering up social commentary amid an airy, quivering mid-tempo structure. Cheeky, pointed and incredibly sardonic, “Sunshine State,” is a statement song the band should wear with pride. The six-minute bar-room rocker “Eager Seas,” follows and it’s another original, wholly convincing no-nonsense rocker, before resting on closer, “Never Been Better,” which for all intents and purposes is an acoustic refrain of album opener “Never Been Worse.”

The major problem with Nostalgia Aint What it Used To Be is that the entire effort feels disjointed and uneven. Whereas albums are supposed to flow and jell cohesively, none of Nostalgia does that. The disc feels in essence like one scrap heap of studio favorites assembled together and passed off as a record. The only unifying theme is the emotions of disappointment, anger and rage, which Defrabrizio alludes to on more than one occasion. A self-admitted over-confident, over-weight, degenerate, over-the-hill rocker, he sums up the entire effort by saying, “What's the worst thing that could happen? The same shit that's always happened?" And that gruff confession is the heart of what Gasoline Heart is all about. If only their music backed up their talk.

Track Listing 1. Never Been Worse (2:41)
2. Can't Keep a Good Kid Down (4:06)
3. Just Like a Ghost (3:49)
4. Armadillo (3:50)
5. Stop Pretending (4:37)
6. Difficult (3:55)
7. Look Up Baby, You're Bleeding (3:40)
8. Backbooth (2:21)
9. Sunshine State (4:26)
10. What We Are (3:50)
11. Eager Seas (6:10)
12. Never Been Better (2:19)


Gasoline Heart is John Fortson
Erich Jackson
Louis Defabrizio
Rick Calvo
Jeff Irizarry


Recommended if You Like The Gaslight Anthem, The Hold Steady, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty


Find Them Here Myspace
Twitter
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 44.
05:41 AM on 09/23/09
#2
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
i really used to be into this band, but i ran into louis in downtown orlando a few weeks ago and all i did was in passing say "hey man, what's up? i'm a big fan of your band." he was such a dick. totally turned me off.
He's never impressed me.
05:59 AM on 09/23/09
#3
Steve Henderson
Retired
Offline
User Info.
Steve Henderson's Avatar
I have trouble getting past the vocals on this record.
06:26 AM on 09/23/09
#4
James RE Hughey
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
James RE Hughey's Avatar
This isn't a band jumping on a new bandwagon for Springsteen want-a-be's. GH has been doing this style music for some time now, before some of the same members were 'The Kick' and the sound was basically the same. Their bassist was in Squad 5-O and they also had a similar sound. Not saying they do not sound a lot like Springsteen type rock, but this is not just another band trying to jump on The Gaslight Anthem bandwagon of trying to be The Boss.
06:31 AM on 09/23/09
#5
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
This isn't a band jumping on a new bandwagon for Springsteen want-a-be's. GH has been doing this style music for some time now, before some of the same members were 'The Kick' and the sound was basically the same. Their bassist was in Squad 5-O and they also had a similar sound. Not saying they do not sound a lot like Springsteen type rock, but this is not just another band trying to jump on The Gaslight Anthem bandwagon of trying to be The Boss.
This record does little to bolster your argument, mate.
06:56 AM on 09/23/09
#6
joelibyan
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
This record does little to bolster your argument, mate.
I agree with the OP on this one... I feel like Louis (and by extension his whole Orlando crew) has been pursuing this sound for years (since the demise of dear ephesus... even tenderfoot had some element of the Boss' sound), but have always been under the radar. The only reason they're getting recognition is because the sound is coming back. I was mad when DE broke up because I loved their sound. Everything Louis has done since then just hasn't hit me in the right way. Good for him for following his tastes, but he lost me along the way.
07:08 AM on 09/23/09
#7
chillinlikebob
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
chillinlikebob's Avatar
I actually really enjoy this album and bought the physical release. I like the Tom Petty/Bruce Springsteen style of rock music and when other bands such as The Gaslight Anthem and Gasoline Heart put out similar stuff, that is fine by me. I think those are the two bands that actually represent the style well. I use to not like Louis's vocals either, but they're grown on me. I think this record is very solid and fun to drive to. The bands last record was very solid as well.
07:09 AM on 09/23/09
#8
James RE Hughey
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
James RE Hughey's Avatar
My point is exactly that. This is a sound this group of guys has been doing for years, it is not something they just decided to do because someone like The Gaslight Anthem is making it popular again. To say they sound like The Boss and not original enough is fair, but to tag them as joining the new ranks of copy-cats like The Gaslight Anthem is not.
07:12 AM on 09/23/09
#9
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
My point is exactly that. This is a sound this group of guys has been doing for years, it is not something they just decided to do because someone like The Gaslight Anthem is making it popular again. To say they sound like The Boss and not original enough is fair, but to tag them as joining the new ranks of copy-cats like The Gaslight Anthem is not.
The same point can be argued for The Hold Steady.
So why exactly are The Hold Steady universally praised and gracing magazines and this band is not? Makes you wonder, huh?
07:14 AM on 09/23/09
James RE Hughey
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
James RE Hughey's Avatar
This is not a review of The Hold Steady. I am not disagreeing with the review persay, just the fact that Gasoline Heart is being painted as a band jumping on a new bandwagon.
07:21 AM on 09/23/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
This is not a review of The Hold Steady. I am not disagreeing with the review persay, just the fact that Gasoline Heart is being painted as a band jumping on a new bandwagon.
It was the most appropriate intro I could think of. You'll see it your way, I'll see it mine. I still think the band could have done better. This album fails in a few too many places.
07:22 AM on 09/23/09
chillinlikebob
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
chillinlikebob's Avatar
The same point can be argued for The Hold Steady.
So why exactly are The Hold Steady universally praised and gracing magazines and this band is not? Makes you wonder, huh?
P is for Panda is a brand new label though. Vagrant is known for bigger bands (The Get Up Kids, Dashboard Confessional, and Thrice) and so The Hold Steady has received more exposure.
I do think both The Hold Steady and The Gaslight Anthem are better than Gasoline Heart, but I still really dig both Gasoline Heart records.
07:40 AM on 09/23/09
James RE Hughey
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
James RE Hughey's Avatar
I'm obviously a fan boy for this band and I will admit it, but I agree they definitely just take a sound that has been around for a long time. Extremely entertaining live and that is probably why I love them so.
07:52 AM on 09/23/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
P is for Panda is a brand new label though. Vagrant is known for bigger bands (The Get Up Kids, Dashboard Confessional, and Thrice) and so The Hold Steady has received more exposure.
I do think both The Hold Steady and The Gaslight Anthem are better than Gasoline Heart, but I still really dig both Gasoline Heart records.
P is for Panda is a great label, but Chad isn't exactly broke. He had tons of resources while at The Militia Group and plenty of Militia bands made it to the big time. I am not knocking P is for Panda. Though for what it's worth, that label's star is Damion Suomi, who in my opinion is far more talented and original than Gasoline Heart. But that's just my ten cents.
07:57 AM on 09/23/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
I'm obviously a fan boy for this band and I will admit it, but I agree they definitely just take a sound that has been around for a long time. Extremely entertaining live and that is probably why I love them so.
My knock on this record isn't so much their sound, its Louis' vocal inflections. It's like direct, 100 percent Springsteen knockoff and its just plain frustrating. Granted there are spots on the album he forms his own voice, but I dont know why he doesnt do that more often.
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm