Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Album Review: Gunning Bedford - Don't Wait Around For Me

EP Rating: B
"I'm sick of everyone around here." With that declaration, Rockland County's Gunning Bedford concluded Ice Warriors, their debut 2010 three-track EP. It is exactly the sort of poignant and angsty statement that one might expect four kids who've played alongside the likes of The Wonder Years and slightly less celebrated pop-punk outfit Daylight to end a record on, with its modestly articulated "fuck you, I'm outta' this jerkwater town" conviction. Unsurprisingly enough, Don't Wait Around For Me picks up right where Gunning Bedford left off, wasting no time whatsoever before diving into five original tracks covering everything from feeling hopelessly forgotten to realizing that none of this daily bullshit matters anyway. What's important is that they do exactly what is expected of them: having a good time whilst singing about the bad times and hoping for better times.

Don't Wait Around For Me sees Gunning Bedford not being afraid to stretch formerly concise, punch-packing songs beyond three or four minutes without losing their valuable potency. Full confidence is placed in vocalists Chris Boecker and Anthony Prestipino on the EP, and with good reason; their voices collectively account for each track's solidarity and accessibility. No, Gunning Bedford aren't making some presumably revolutionary soundscape album compounded from recording mutilated hog innards - they're just writing the songs they know how to write. Palm-muted guitars and keen hooks mingle with the occasional 'Seventy Times 7'-esque bridge to lend Don't Wait Around For Me the charm that it needs to garner subsequent listens. No extraordinary talent or creativity is showcased on a track like 'Joint Effort', but its woeful shouts and wails afford it the sincerity it wields a la Jim Marburger of I Hate Myself. When Gunning Bedford are lucky they've got a fan or two singing along in a basement, when they're not they've got more to write songs about. By the time the last syllable of "I left this place to get away, but everything comes back to haunt me" fades out on closer 'Last Call, December', it's pretty apparent that these boys have came, have seen, and have effectively conquered the exquisite art of duct-taping the bumper back onto their rusting Chevy Express.

As listeners, I think we can collectively forgive Gunning Bedford for some typical but minor missteps; a middle track that drags on a little too long, a few songwriting moments marred by clich├ęs about weighty shoulders and buckling knees, and a moment or two or repetitive instrumentation. We can all revel in the fact that they're really just dudes like us, sporting Orchid tee's over neck-beards and boasting clumsy stage antics over decade-long commitments to veganism. When all is said and done, I'd imagine that the kids in Gunning Bedford don't really give a damn whether they wake up with 100 or 100,000 Facebook "likes"; they simply do their thing because it beats doing nothing. With that, I indifferently suggest you listen to Gunning Bedford, 'cause, well, it beats the shit out of listening to nothing.


Track List:
1. Weird Times
2. FourUp
3. Joint Effort
4. Passenger
5. Last Call, December

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