Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
One of the things that we personally find criminal here at the Daytrotter headquarters is that the UK band Wild Beasts is less than known in many circles here in the United States. We can't seem to understand how such a thing is at all possible. We also find ourselves personally optimistic that this could change, as a great band like New York's Grizzly Bear is believed to belong in the upper echelon of contemporary American rock and roll outfits. We feel that there is hope out there for pretty songs that are bent on being as adventurous as they are beautiful. Obviously, the good fellows of Grizzly Bear did not ascend to such a status in a swift and easy manner. It took time and they likely exchange silent high fives, with telling eyes and faces with the dudes in the National as they pass each other on the streets - being part of the small club of sluggers who just kept swinging and broke through into that greater consciousness. Los Angeles-based band Gamble House hopefully won't have as long of a wait or as steep of a climb to get to a place of recognition, having already written an album that's heavy on poise and holds a peculiar warmth and exists with an understanding of the basic principles of what it takes to grab folks and bring them right into your parlor for a sip and a sit. It's a spell that the four-piece throws on you that gets you swooning right quickly, unable to yank yourself away from what's going on all around and all above you.
Lead singer Ben Becker and cohorts, Keith Karman, Ben Cassorla and Brian McLaughlin generate a feeling of bountiful rushes, of lightning that cracks a night sky up like an accident spider webs a windshield. The sounds that they make are whooshes of inspired tones and treatments that come out of the headphones like woozy sights fully imagined, a cascade of strolling sweets and dynamic personalities, as if we were thrust into the middle of a picturesque whirlwind. We're allowed to just stand there as the landscape changes all around us with the passing of time and movements. We're given a chance to get drunk on the offerings and yet all of that drinking never leads to an unhappy ending, just that ever-important and welcome buzz. Gamble House takes us into those odd corners that the aforementioned Wild Beasts take us into and yet, all of the settings glimmer with a veneer of proud and demonstrative honey - the kind that the Brooklyn-ites of Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles drench over their lush and sinewy songs. We're left a bit staggered, a bit dazed and all the way impressed.