Gasoline by Theory of a Deadman

 

Don’t be fooled by the brash opener in Theory of a Deadman’s sophomore album, Gasoline. It ticks all the stereotypical boxes you can have of this band before you actually listen to the record in it’s entirety; them being Canadian and having their debut release being produced by Chad Kroeger not withstanding. But no, this four piece is not a Nickelback clone as one would typically fear. Which became apparent as I shuffled past Hating Hollywood and through the lower half of this 2005 release, relishing the lower notes that this alt-rock outfit manages to touch time and again, something that Chad Kroeger can’t do. Or at least hasn’t done yet.

 

TRACKLIST:
#1. Hating Hollywood 3:25
#2. No Way Out 3:29
#3. No Surprise 3:40
#4. Quiver 2:51
#5. Santa Monica 4:06
#6. Better Off 2:51
#7. Say Goodbye 3:04
#8. Hello Lonely (Walk Away from This) 4:21
#9. Me & My Girl 3:40
#10. Since You’ve Been Gone 4:18
#11. Hell Just Ain’t the Same 1:05
#12. Save the Best for Last 4:15
#13. In the Middle 3:36

 

PERSONNEL:
Tyler Connolly: Lead Vocals, Lead Gutar
Dave Brenner: Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dean Back: Bass, Backing Vocals
Brent Fitz: Drums, Backing Vocals
PRODUCER:
Howard Benson
DATE OF RELEASE:
March 29, 2005

 

SINGLES:
No Surprise
Say Goodbye
Santa Monica
Hello Lonely (Walk Away from This)
Better Off
Since You’ve Been Gone

 

I like judging bands from the impression that their lead singles give them. Bands that have #1 as the first single with little else to show are probably absolute tosh, as are some others who release a very different sounding lead single to co-erce listeners to dive into their regular style in the rest of their discography. Sorry, but that’s just insecurity. And let’s face it, Nothing Could Come Between Us from T.O.A.D’s self-titled debut was just that. Shoulda’ been a song left for Chad Kroeger to sing instead.

 

Apparently, the band learnt their lesson with this album’s lead single, No Surprise which could have as well been the opener the disc was looking for. For it’s a better first impression than Hating Hollywood and then some, with the multi-layered ambient guitars and grungy vocals. Then again, it would have been a lead single at #1 and that opens up a whole new can of worms a la Trapt.

 

Moving on though, No Surprise at #3 begins to significantly develop the second, more acoustic sound of the album as opposed to it’s louder counterparts further below in Better Off and Quiver. This dual trend sums up the overall sound and feel of the next forty-odd minutes, with plenty of other highlights on the way. Most of which are the ones which intersperse the light and heavy aspects of the band’s sound, and this hybrid seems to work very well for them.

 

Santa Monica is the first track where you feel this. It’s one of those perfect coast songs with guitars oscillating between light during the verses, and heavy in the chorus and bridge. Just the way a modern rock fan would like it. Admittedly, the lyrics need some work – “She pours my bed with Gasoline” sounds like a namesake effort to stick with the title of the record, but it ain’t as bad throughout the entire duration of four minutes, including during the choruses.

 

By the time #9 rolls along, you’ll have probably forgotten all about the Nickelback similarities, for there hasn’t been any for a while, or rather, right from Hating HollywoodMe & My Girl is likely my favourite song off of the entire tracklist, and props to Dave Brenner who has really worked overtime with the guitars on this one. So much so that the lyrics are once again salvaged by the booming acoustic and electronica scattered throughout the choruses. There’s an exciting Spanish flamenco thing going on in the first few seconds that launches this song pretty well into the fan favourites category. The problem with the vocals this time? They’re a tad repetitive during the chorus.

 

Lyrics and Vocals clearly not being the album strongest suit, it rambles along to Since You’ve Been Gone where they pleasantly come off as a better fit overall. You can call it a highlight if you enjoy ballads. Otherwise, you can proceed to the interlude that is Hell Just Ain’t the Same.

 

In the Middle as a closer is a slick choice, as is any track that builds gradually to a melodic crescendo to close off what has been a generally decent album. Which is a relief, for it wasn’t as rosy a track earlier, with Save the Best for Last not quite accomplishing what it claims. Yet, I don’t mind a band that nails eleven of their thirteen tracks. I’ll gladly pick up their records, thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

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