Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gospel Claws Testifies!

Gospel Claws formed in late fall of 2007 when Marquard decided to team up with long time friend Sloan Walters. Marquard stepped away from his founding role in Dear and the Headlights in the fall of that year and tapped into the enormous catalog of songs that he had amassed outside of the band. John Mulhern was a long time friend of both Sloan and Joel, who was listening in on a practice one day when Sloan had the idea to put a bass on him and teach him how to play it. Mulhern had never played anything besides the radio (as they say), but picked up the bass guitar duties quickly enough.

Wesley Hilsabeck joined on guitar in late 2007 thanks to Marquard’s propensity for stalking. Marquard, who was a DHL driver at the time, made a delivery of cookies to Hilsabeck’s house and recognized the name on the box. The two had met years back and had some mutual acquaintances, so Marquard left a note with the cookies, "Kind of a will you join my band: YES, NO, or MAYBE kind of thing." Hilsabeck called Marquard that night and the two made an instant musical connection. With the group complete, they began playing shows in the downtown Phoenix art scene.

In late 2009, Gospel Claws began recording their debut LP, C–L–A–W–S at Flying Blanket Recording in Mesa, Arizona. The band co-produced and tracked entirely with Bob Hoag (The Format, Joel Plaskett), who mostly recorded the band live except for vocals and some ancillary instrumentation. This was a departure from the band's previous recording methods, which had been recorded layer by layer to a click track. The results of these “live on the floor” recording sessions with no tempo mapping or extensive over-dubbing showcased a band that had become surprisingly tight and polished, but still had plenty of timing swing to live up to the “gospel” in its name.

Sounding something like a refreshed and still vital Clap Your Hands & Say Yeah, Gospel Claws bring the indie rock with a nice serving of quirkiness on the side. The songs that make up C–L–A–W–S are melodic and catchy despite sounding as though they're about to shatter into a million pieces. It's angular and choppy stuff that lays on the harmonies so that your mind will be able to piece it all together in order. It might not bash you over the head with its accessibility but they'll wear you down and as a result makes C–L–A–W–S is an impressive debut.
Download: Walk Me Down
Download: Avenues

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing Record and don't forget about Scott Hall!