by Mark Anthony Brennan
Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Label: New Damage Records
Gob started their career over 20 years ago, so some of you may be simply too young to know who they are. Even if you were listening to music back in the ’90’s you could be forgiven for not recalling them; after all they’ve only put out one album in the past 10 years, and that one was way back in 2007. To make matters worse, they’ve been promising us a new album since 2009, so many of us just stopped paying attention. But anyway, here we are, it’s 2014 and we have a new Gob album on our hands. Was it worth the wait? Yes, probably. They may not be blazing any new trails into the 21st century, but at least they are doing us the great favour of not rehashing their own musical past.
‘Apt. 13’, in fact, takes up where they left off on 2007’s ‘Muertos Vivos’, where they got much heavier than in the past, venturing into alternative metal and hard rock. The title track, for example, rips right into the heart of things with some thunderous alt metal chords that lead into a heavy grunge chorus. The balance of the album isn’t quite as uniformly satisfying as the rip-snorting opener but it has a good overall vibe (although we could have done without the ‘Green-Day-does-acoustic’ pastiche of “Call For Tradition”).
The real problem lies with their choruses. Songs like “Radio Hell”, “Same As It Ever Was” and “Walking Alone” all start off promisingly with grunge/metal/punk snarl but then lose their steam with paint-by-numbers classic rock/pop choruses. By way of contrast, Gob really hit their groove on “Cold”, which is pure punk power pop that never relents, and “Terpsichore”, a grunge grinder with nice touches of discordance.
This is not the music of Gob’s early days as spit’n’swear stuttering punks, nor is it (thankfully) a return to their heyday as popcore hucksters (when they were so radio-friendly that their music was featured in countless movies, TV shows and video games). So, to give credit where it’s due, they have matured and they have done so gracefully. ‘Apt. 13’ may not go down as a classic for the ages, but it’s about as good an album as you could reasonably expect from this band, which means it’s a better-than-average enjoyable rocker.