The profound influence of punk on the grunge movement should not be understated. By the time it had reached national recognition, that lineage wasnt as obvious as it was in the beginning. But my point is that when stripped down to its bare essentials, grunge is, much like 80s hardcore, loud, fast, angry, and an embodiment of youth.
This brings me to Baby Guts. I once read a review that described some band as vintage not retro, and I cant think of a better way to describe the music of Baby Guts. This is a band that would not have sounded at all out-of-place in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1980s. They clearly are tapping into that sound, not in a nostalgic, knockoff way, but as a genuine re-expression of the original idea. Although Baby Guts may have its Nirvana moments - Tetnis sounds not too far off - they are more heavily rooted in good old-fashioned punk rock than anything else. This, in combination with the female vocals, brings to mind the first couple albums by The Distillers, but they are more atonal than that. I even hear some Jesus Lizard-style guitar fills in there.
Most of the songs blaze by in less than two minutes, equal parts spastic and melodic. Laura, who plays guitar and handles lead vocal duties, is the driving force behind the album. Her guitar playing is beautifully abrasive, and she has a voice to match, ranging from tortured yelps to heart-wrenching melody.
All in all, Gasoline is a satisfying twenty-minute blast of raw emotion that sounds oddly familiar, yet cuts out its own niche in the punk/grunge community. Even with literally hundreds of albums vying for my attention on a day-to-day basis, I have been consistently returning to this album for repeat listens, which must bear witness to how cathartic and memorable it has turned out to be.
8.2 / 10
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