by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
It’s been less than a year since Gentle Heat released their debut album, Dissolve, but the Chicago quartet are back with a new EP, Liminal. Due out on February 1st via Skeletal Lightning, the band continue to refine their propulsive pop noise with influences from krautrock, power-pop, and post-hardcore with a squeaky clean delivery. There’s a nod to Dischord at the early 2000s in their sound, toeing the line between complex structures and enormous melodies. It sticks in your mind, leaving trails of hummable vocals and deceptively jarring rhythms. For something that often sounds polished, Gentle Heat are doing anything but playing it safe.
The record’s first single “Ghost Town Hiss” opens the album with fluttering manipulated noise, flickering in the morning light, before a hypnotic rhythm gradually pounds its way in. Each crack of the snare and plod of the bass get a bit tighter, a bit bigger, and the prolonged introduction sets the tone with graceful patience. The band are locked in as everything finds its own place, the vocals and guitars eventually seeping in, adding in an accessible melodic swoon that still manages to shift and veer in joyous convulsions. The band set a simple framework then do their best to throw you from it until you don’t know which way is up, and that’s what make Gentle Heat’s sound so special.
Gentle Heat’s Liminal is out February 1st via Skeletal Lightning.