Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Countless Thousands: We’re just excited to be here

Garden Grove, California trio Countless Thousands brings forth a playful, propulsive shot of modern rock to the landscape where many bands have strived to reach. When first researching the band, it was interesting to learn of the dissimilar backgrounds each member had. Danger Van Gorder came from the choir group, Davey Munch was a former Jazz bassist and Jon David was a former Civil War reenactment drummer. Despite dissimilar backgrounds and influences, together they really gel into a cohesive band with a common goal and a successful sound. My first impression was the amazing voice of Van Gorder and the great harmonies throughout the record. Van Gorder is a top notch vocalist with a very commercial quality in the best way. Accompanied with the searing and often soaring guitar work and  the propulsive bass and drums, these components really give this trio a big sound. Comparisons to Foo Fighters, Cursive, At The Drive In and Ted Leo came to mind as I was giving this record a first listen.  The production value of the record is top notch as well and several of the tracks would fit nicely in a modern rock format. The mastering is not overly compressed/loud like a lot of modern rock these days. I really got a good sense of the record with the opening track, “Overture”. It sets the tone for the record with a dual guitar assault and a big drum sound. “Fickle” had a lot of energy and a neat effect with dual vocals layered. “Chemical exchange”, “Prom Song” and “The Patriot” all utilize great harmonies and driving guitar riffs to draw the listener into the song. “The Patriot” is certainly topical as it delves into the hypocrisy of modern times (“freedom isn’t free”, Fox News, outsourcing, freedom fries). A couple of effective ballads are also presented with “Asskickers union” and “Cockfosters”. The former being a self-referential  love song obviously written from personal experience.  “Devil” was a great take on a classic guitar battle and reminded me a bit of Tenacious D while the A capella “No contest” showcased lovely vocal harmonies and fine musicianship. My favorite track on the album was “Too close to call” with its solid melody and catchy chorus, I think it would make a great first single. My overall impression of the record is that of a showcase for Van Gorder’s wonderful voice and effective/often times humorous lyrics. My only criticism of the record might be the length.  Although I thought the pacing and sequence of the tracks was fine, and the tracks were varied enough to keep my attention through 15 songs and the closer.

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