A horrible hack

The Gateway District

Old Wild Hearts

Year Released: 2012
Format: Download
Label: It's Alive
Reviewed by Toby on May 2, 2013
Do you wish The Soviettes and The Measure (SA) sounded more like Flamingo 50?

Would you like to hear an album that reminds you of Off With Their Heads but with a shot of optimism?

Or how about some American Pop punk that contains less “shirts off, dudes on” and more “genericism off, brains on”?

If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes, yes and oh yes!’ then you my friend are in luck. ‘Old Wild Hearts’ is the third album from this Minneapolis based outfit and rather embarrassingly for me, the first I’ve heard. I wrongly assumed when I first heard about this band and the other band’s they are in/have been in that they’d be another bittersweet gruff pop-punk band and to be honest I’ve had my fill of those. However (and I am more than happy to admit) I was rather wrong.

Whilst it’s true that The Gateway District do pretty much use every pop-punk cliché in the book (half-times, palm muted middle eight, drop to drum and bass, starting with a 'go' and the mighty key change) they manage to do it with enough style and panache to keep them from becoming a stereotype. How they do this is the magic of this band, merging the familiar and comfort of the genre of pop-punk with a feeling of maturity and epicness (think Good Luck or perhaps Discount) without alienating the audience of their peers but without patronising them or new listeners either.

The vocal melodies are a huge part of this, at times on the more introspective songs they remind me old Stardumb and Hopeless Records bands like Funeral Oration or A Radio with Guts then when the beat picks up there’s much more of an upbeat Muffs or Go-Go’s thing going on and even a tinge of modern country at times.

Don’t get me wrong, whilst the lead vocals are one of the best things about this band, the music and backing harmonies are second to none as well, rolling bass lines ala The Descendents, 50's snare beats and more woahs than when you first heard the lyrics to a TRC song, this band have it all going on.

I really think this is one of those albums that can’t fail anyone who considers themselves a fan of melodic punk, it will tick the boxes for everyone, my only (and this is a very minor) criticism would be that at times the production can be a tiny but too polished leaving some of the music sounding a touch mechanical, a bit of a lo-fi touch would suit this album down to the ground, but hey I haven’t heard the other two albums, maybe they’ve done that – I’ll be finding out soon as if the other two albums are half as good as this then they’re worth investigating.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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