GENTLE HEAT – ” WDYG “

Posted: May 13, 2022 in MUSIC

Days ahead of Chicago lo-fi outfit Gentle Heat’s latest album “Sheer”, the band offered up “WDYG.” With a nostalgic haze hovering above it and an effortlessly catchy groove, Gentle Heat have unlocked the rare feat of capturing the magic of ‘90s alt-rock. David Algrim’s vocals are reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. at their poppiest, and fuzzed-out guitars wail underneath the layers of the band’s undeniable influences that make up a familiar yet fresh sound.

In an era of music during which the urge to define and dissect new genres competes only with the desire to ruthlessly consolidate old ones, Gentle Heat is refreshing in their purpose and consistency. Too lush to be relegated to post-punk or indie rock, and more sonically visceral than contemporary shoegaze, the Chicago quintet defies easy categorization in a way that makes their evolution as exciting to watch as it is to hear. By pure force of volume, Gentle Heat creates a sound all their own driven by propulsive rhythms and dissonant melodies. With their newest release “Sheer”, Gentle Heat reaffirms this commitment with surgical efficiency. Even the most formless sounds have purpose; ethereal soundscapes give way to humming, knotted feedback. The addition of vocalist/ keyboardist Sarah Clausen has enabled the project to dive deeper into the ambient aspects of their sound, blending the record into a knotted cohesive piece. On “Sheer”, Gentle Heat pares down their formula to the point that every piece becomes essential and immediate even as they are weaving together layers of sound.

According to guitarist/ vocalist David Algrim, “The idea for this project has always been to create sonically dense music viewed through the lens of pop structure. With “Sheer“, the goal was to refine that concept to its most concise form.”

The result is a dynamic sound as likely to excite seasoned shoegaze listeners as it is to turn new heads in the back of the venue bar. While the line-up has changed since the band’s inception, Gentle Heat has maintained a musical coherence through their four releases that affords the germination of new ideas and fresh sounds while remaining reverent to their past. The synthesis of experience and influences offered up on “Sheer” marks a big step forward for the group, and with it, a momentum that is proportional to the energy of their sound.

At the time of this recording Gentle Heat was:
David Algrim- Guitar, Vocals, Keys
Sarah Clausen- Keys, Vocals
Tim Mack- Drums
Leon Owusu- Bass
Joe Suihkonen- Guitar

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