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Album Review: Gentlemen and Scholars - The Fault

Gentlemen and Scholars approach of mashing a bunch of genres together and seeing what sticks continues in their new album 'The Fault', and for the most part it pays off. The album changes directions multiple times, sometimes even mid song. This makes for an album that is filled with many diverse influences, ranging from southern rock, jazz piano, and good old punk rock guitars.

The album begins with “We’re Outta Here ‘89” which kicks things off in a furious garage punk manner. Vocalist Wes Beach starts the song before a volley of screams and crunching guitars get the song going. Some may be put off by the atonal nature of the song, particularly the first verse vocals, but it apes the style effectively. By the second track it becomes clear that Gentlemen and Scholars aren’t going to stick to the one style. Starting with a jazz piano melody and staccato drumming, before launching into a bouncy rock number, the band show that they aren’t afraid to experiment, and also show that they can do it quite ably.

The next two tracks slow things down a bit to mixed results. “Make Me Better Better” is the lesser of the two, coming off as a bit boring. Beach’s Vocals are at his most whiny and they don’t service the song as well as they do in other songs. Thankfully “Fire (Add) Water” picks things up again, with its bass and guitar riffs coming off like an improvised jam session. The song sounds like a Wonderland era Forgive Durden, and if that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is. In fact this influence is heard a few times in the album, it is at its strongest here and on later tracks “...And You Sleep” and “High Heels/Low Lifes”.

It isn’t long before the pace picks up again with “Lover May I” which has poppy upbeat verses before the chorus takes a swing towards to the aggressive. While making comparisons, it should be noted that the choruses here give off a strong similarity to Tell All Your Friends era Taking Back Sunday. The duelling vocals are used to great effect here and also serve to further contrast the verse and chorus.“Vanity” is the last of the slow tracks, a haunting piano ballad where Beaches voice is at its strongest. After this 'The Fault' builds gradually towards its finale before unleashing everything they have with their last two tracks. “Mannequins” contains all the hallmarks of their styles that have come before, and “Madman Nash” is a straight up southern style rocker that packs all the right punches and contains lyrics about an insane convict that goes on the run.

'The Fault' is a very diverse record, in fact it would be difficult for anyone with a passing interest in the genre to not like at least one of the songs on the album. There’s the post hardcore style screams, the poppy rock numbers, the meaningful piano ballads and the progressive style experimentation. The best thing about the album is that throughout all these genre switches the band still manages to infuse themselves into each song, instead of just aping other bands styles. It might not be up there with the very best of the year, but it is still a good listen that deserves attention.


'The Fault' by Gentlemen and Scholars is available now on Torque/Victory Records.

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Jamie Kirk

Alter The Press!