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Gentleman Auction House / The Rules Were Handed Down

22-Jan-2007 05:35 AM Contributed by: pete Music Reviews
7 Track EP
© 2006 Gentleman Auction House
Gentleman Auction House on MySpace
Listen Listen to A Hospital Or Heaven
Enema Rating:
Gentleman Auction House is a seven piece band (perhaps a better word would be "collective") that currently calls home St. Louis, Missouri. Like always, it's difficult to predict what you're going to hear when you place a CD in the car stereo that you've never heard. But I liked the colour and graphics on the cover of this CD - it gave me a bit of a childhood autumn sensation. Which, as it turns out, couldn't be more perfect for the songs contained within. The music immediately reminded me of Modest Mouse or even Rogue Wave, not necessarily because it sounds similar, but because it gives me the same feeling.

The EP starts out with the title track, a song that begins simple enough, with a steady drumbeat and discordant vocals, but somewhere in around the 2 minute mark a number of other instruments chime in providing a first taste of the layered and rich sound this band is capable of. Shortly afterwards, the song returns to its original beat. However, the next song, The Hospital or Heaven, clearly demonstrates the assets of this ensemble. The vocals are often a combination of many and have a light and childish sound, and as the song progresses the music fills in and becomes richer. The 3rd track, Blissful Things To Go, is filled with so many parts that I found myself hearing things on the second and third listens that I didn't hear the first time around. An attribute that can be said about nearly all songs on this EP.

The fifth track, Our Angry Town Runs Them Out, once again demands a Modest Mouse comparison. The similarity in mood is strong even if I can't quite come up with a song for direct comparison, but it's fair to say that lovers of Modest Mouse or other indie lo-fi bands may find themselves drawn to Gentleman Auction House, whereas listeners who tend toward hard rock or metal may find themselves repelled. The EP closes with a very indie upbeat song entitled Your Days And Our Nights that seems to be about a regular evening love affair fueled by alcohol. Or maybe it's about marriage. I'll leave it up to you to determine the difference.

The band appears to be quite active on the stage these days, playing a number of dates in February and March in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. I'd love to see them perform to see how they hold together and to hear additional material, so here's hoping they make it up to Toronto sometime soon. Check out Gentleman Auction House on MySpace to hear what they're all about and view their show schedule.

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