Have you ever listened to a song that just don’t get tired of? You play it over and over; you know every beat, every harmony, every backup vocal. If someone were to hook your brainwaves up to a speaker system, they would hear a perfect rendition of the song.
You’re going to have a difficult time doing that with The Gills, but don’t be mistaken—you’re going to listen to “Rubberband” again, and again, and again.
The song is the first single off the band’s debut album, self-titled and set to drop in early 2016, and it certainly keeps you on your toes. The vocals are synthesized into a echoing backbone against the music rather than commanding all attention at the forefront, and the overlaying pop-rock guitar and heartbeat drums keep you on your toes with edgy tempo changes that bob up, down, up. We follow frontman Jesse Wheeler’s hallucinatory daydream (thanks to a head-butt with a guitar) as the riffs unroll in real time, every rhythmic jerk and drum pound catalogued in a novel of color and texture, static buzzing in and out. You’re watching the creative process, not just the end result, and an ingenious one at that. In his semi-conscious state Wheeler quite literally picks up a notebook and begins to scribble the lyrics that previously just wouldn’t come. It’s not the least bit overdone, and it certainly keeps you on your toes. And while listening to the song without the music video still lends a strong effect, it doesn’t quite ring the same. The two go hand in hand.
This sort of thing is exactly what a band like The Gills would do. Drawing inspiration from icons like Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, and Weezer, the four-part musical group strayed from the solidarity of their hometown in Florida and took on the big city itself—Nashville. Intimidating, maybe, but The Gills stuck it out like they’d been doing it for years, like they owned the place just as much as any other head honcho. And rightly so, because “Rubberband” is enough in itself to justify their place in the booming musical headquarters. Bands like the Manchester Orchestra asked bassist Andy Prince to join in addition to playing with them.
Consisting of Jesse Wheeler (vocals/guitar), Andy Price (bass), Matt Prince (drums), and Justin Locke (guitar/keyboard), the band’s history trickles back to Wheeler as a teenager battling Leukemia and seeking a positive outlet. Lyrics were written, and later, songs, and now a band forging its way through the industry. You can hear the positivity even if you don’t know the backstory, and it’s contagious. The band co-produced their latest LP with Kyle Dreaden to ultimately find an invigorating balance between pop and rock, maintaining their creative and boisterous integrity while taking on a fun, Top 40 feel.
The Gills aren’t just another music group looking to make it big, they’re ready to face their future head on. They’re armed with innovation, humor, and of course, talent, and if “Rubberband” is any example of what’s to come, you will definitely be on your toes, and you’ll be listening on repeat.
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