A Social Thread Review: El Gato

Let’s be honest. Whenever a friend tells me that I should check out their boyfriend’s/best friend’s/neighbor’s/uncle’s brother’s cousins band, I usually end up listening to a song and saying, “Oh yeah, this is good” with a head bob and a smile while quietly thinking that my day would have been better never having heard that steaming pile of mediocrity (I have strong opinions on music, clearly). SO when Kevin, Mr. Hello Splendor, asked me to check out his band El Gato I’d been burned too many times to have high expectations. I am supremely happy to say that I was proven wrong (with Kevin and I being co-workers, and Beth and I being friends it would have been awkward).

This band has major chops. It consists of lead songwriter and vocalist John Vineyard, Kirk Dixon on base, Kevin Dotolo on drums, and John Eugene Burgmeier on guitar and keyboards. I checked out two of their albums We’re Birds and Surrender! and they have completely different sounds which is most likely due to the six years between albums (they have day jobs people!) and their singer moving to California for the third album. This second album We’re Birds has a light hearted airiness that evokes summers on the beach and wind blowing in your hair. The lyrics toggle between overwhelming harsh realities and almost childlike imagery “And there’s pianos on crutches playing crippled music in my ear and I don’t know why”and “I wrote my name in theis desert highway with rocks and sand for all the passing-by planes, the rains they came and washed it all away, I can’t hitchhike another day, I’m washed away.” Really, the whole album is great but my favorites are “We’re Birds”, “Christmas In My City”, and “Never Thought I Was Invincible”. Their third album Surrender! definitely shows that the boys have grown up with darker lyrics of internal struggle, but they’ve kept their roots of being driven by sunny guitar rifts and cheery melodies. The stand out tracks on this album are “Scorpions In Your Shoes”, “Banging on Doors”, and the pretty instrumental, aptly named “Instrumental 120”.

Download El Gato‘s music on iTunes, catch a show, you can hear their music on the hilarious HBO show Bored to Death with Jason Schwartzmen and Zach Galifianakis. A track of theirs will be featured on the Halloween episode. Bravo boys!

The Social Thread