by David Haynes (@shooshlord)
It’s frantic. It’s relentless. It’s pounding. It’s GLOOP. Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of watching GLOOP play a handful of times. Each time, I’m blown away how chaotic the whole thing is. It feels like the set might fall apart or burst into flames at any moment. And yet, GLOOP remains one of the tightest noise rock bands I have ever seen. Somehow, their record The Tourist manages to capture that live energy perfectly.
Recorded in 48 hours in the early months of 2018, the record bears influences from noise rock, grunge, and punk. In less than 18 minutes, Dominic Gianninoto (guitar/vocals), Max Detrich (drums), and Blake Douglas (bass) manage to sound as effortless as Pavement while remaining as angry and gritty as The Jesus Lizard. The Tourist sounds as though it was recorded in some type of factory, with the heavy metal machinery adding loads of distortion to every piece of this record. This is not a warm sounding record. Instead, it is a pummeling barrage of cold, harsh guitar tones, big snare hits, and oddball riffs.
“A Shrine Built for Two” is the perfect opening track. With its incessant groove and frightening shouts, it’s a song that builds up momentum. If this song doesn’t get your head bopping up and down, nothing will. The second track, “Skunked” sounds almost exactly like its title suggests: aged into a potent, soured beverage. From the palm-muted “choruses” to the angst-ridden freak-outs of the verses. GLOOP also proves their ability to write skewered, twisted punk gems. “Salamander” is a minute-and-a-half whirlwind. “Three Legged Ghost” is an angst-fueled barnburner. And with that, the record is halfway over. It’s incredible how many insane riffs GLOOP has already managed to squeeze into the first four songs.
“Bright Sigh” ushers in the second half of the record with an assault of bizarre slide guitar. On this track, the bass carries the riff while the guitar dances on top. While the songwriting remains strong throughout the record, the second half of The Tourist contains some of the most interesting, nuanced performances. Detrich’s crazed snare rolls on “Who Ate The Sun?” are one of the most interesting drum parts of the record. Gianninoto’s tortured playing on “Bright Sigh” or howling shrieks on “Samurai Birthday” send shivers into my very core. Similarly, Douglas’ bass line halfway through “Dancing Tongues” is a highlight of the record for me. It’s undoubtedly my favorite bass line of 2018.
“Dancing Tounges” is also a perfect choice for a closing track. It almost sounds like a b-side from Wowee Zowee. For GLOOP, this is as low-key as it gets. Halfway through the song, it morphs into an all out grunge banger, with Gianninoto’s signature shouts echoing over a gnarly riff. As mysteriously as they arrived, GLOOP disappears back into the sewer pipes they came from. Hopefully, they are busily cooking up another batch of their unique, off-kilter rock and roll.
For all of their visceral, maniacal riffs and crashing cymbals, GLOOP understands melody. They’ve managed to cram catchy hooks into every nook and cranny of The Tourist. You’ll be hard pressed to find a noise rock record as catchy as this one.