How would one define the boundaries of a genre, if pushing the boundaries as far as possible is one of its innermost character traits? An inevitable question when it comes to Gallops’ debut Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore. Let’s put it this way: maybe no band has ever done something as good to math rock since BATTLES began their undoubted leadership. Simultaneously fresh and skilled, accessable and mindfucking, catchy and complex; yet far away from musical masturbation – very few examples come to mind who overcame this task so easily sounding like these welsh guys do.
Following their critically-acclaimed, self-titled debut-ep from 2010, Gallops enter a distinction-ridden scene like Math-Rock with all tools necessary: technical mastership, humor, a sense for madness and the will to entertain at highest level. Not to be missunderstood: this music is far from happy-clappy, sunday’s brunch-chillout-insignificance. Anxiety and paranoia often rule the scenery, creating a mood that, in combination with a general sense of overload, is very likely to disturb or – for the unexperienced listener – even bore it’s witnesses. But, trust in this and spend some time with it, you’ll feel the inescapable notion of something big happening.
Anyway, let’s exemplify the vagueness and obscurity used above: if you want a hint on what Gallops sound like, imagine the keyboard-magician of british prog-heroes YES, Rick Wakeman, in a mosh-pit, setting fire on his silly 70s wizard-cloak, spilling absinth over some of his finest compositions; or, in a nutshell: imagine a lunatic in scornful celebration of his work and you’re not even close to what’s happening on songs like Hongliday. After starting with some concise guitar-licks and one of the countless impossible rhythms (consequently honoured in Rhythm Is A Misery) played out on this record, riffs explode logically out of context, misleading us fools, this might be any sort of graspable rock, until somewhere around the middle of the song some ravey synths enter the stage, giving this song the ultimate cut to it’s perfection. ENTER SHIKARI meets PORCUPINE TREE meets BATTLES – sounds insane? Well, it is.
For sure, Yours Sincerely Dr. Hardcore is a challenging experience; but what’s so captivating about it, is, that it entertains the listener as well as it unsettles him. A fine achievement – considering the fact that this is Gallops‘ debut – for which the welsh foursome should gain a fair amount of recognition.