Comprised of members of Bay Area musical outfits including Link 80 and Shinobu, Gnarboots have been wowing crowds all over northern California with their eccentric live shows for a few years now — although when comparing some of the live show clips on YouTube to the material found on A.L.B.U.M., there’s quite a notice able difference. Most of their live material is quite silly, to put it bluntly, featuring the band freestyle rapping and performing as what appears to be comedy band.
While some of the lyrical content and delivery is done in a whimsical style, the 11 cuts found on this their debut album have a downright catchy, straightforward punk sound that is quite impressive. I will admit that it took a few listens to get accustomed to the vocals on a few key tracks like “Japan 2” (can you say “tone-deaf”?). With some of the more poppy songs like “Martian Chronicles” and “Grown Ass Man” going into some of the harder tracks like “Tinnitus” and “Omnivore,” one would think that the flow of this album would be off. On the contrary, the mix of tempos from song to song gives the album a fresh flow straight through to the 11th track.
There’s definitely something oddly appealing about Gnarboots’ musical style — something I can’t put my finger on. The first listen was not that pleasurable, but as I tracked through A.L.B.U.M. a few more times, it grew on me like an acquired taste.
(Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030)