Imagine the uplifting sound of the Beach Boys with a melancholy undertone, the retro surfrock of Weezer void of grunge guitars, or the Indie dream pop sound of Yo La Tengo without the plunges into experimental noise. Think of those things and you’ve approached the sound of Cleveland based Gomez Addams. His January release, ‘Summer Viking’ is relaxed and breezy, a work reminiscent of a simpler time.
This 12-track album begins with a brief title track which sets a happy-go-lucky tone. The unconcern become utter indifference in the lazy daze of “Teacher” admitting, “If I could do anything I’d lay in my bed and do nothing.” Addams continues the lackadaisical mood even whilst giving the warning, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds.”
Depth is found in the sorrowful ache of “Arlington” which permits the possibility that “maybe it wasn’t your fault” so “let’s take a walk…and put it to rest.” The integration of history works well here with the tragic mood and mournful lyrics.
The difficulty with this album though is that it lacks dynamism. The nonchalance becomes drudgery. A song like “I’m Not Sure if I Love or Hate Aaron Burr and Andrew Jackson” does not have nearly enough emotion to back the lyrics. There could be at least a tinge of angst in a line like “Is it better to…make some history in the worst way?” Other songs such as “Dug a Hole,” “Ben and Tara”, and “Carved Your Name in a Tree” come across as two-dimensional and irrelevant. “Long Division” is a folksy almost Dylanesque song lyrically, but needs more punch, perhaps in a Creedence style bluesy interjection to bring across the message. Instead of powerful and revelatory, this track maintains as much interest as its title.
Despite the flatness of ‘Summer Viking’ particularly in the middle section, praise may be given for the sentimentality of “Big City” which questions, “Where am I going to?” with the concluding insight, “Sometimes we forget where we come from.” Also, the ending track, “Memorial” does well to pick up the tempo after a long spell of low key tracks. In this finale Gomez Addams transitions well between upbeat pacing and reflective musings.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Download Gomez Addam’s ‘Summer Viking’ free through bandcamp.