Gas Up, Blow Up – Drums and Tuba
With this below-the-radar release, Drums and Tuba have affirmed that even
with this collection of previously scrapped and overlooked material, they're
still a force. What sets them
apart is they are one of a select
few strictly instrumental bands whose music is entirely unique and free of
blatant self-indulgence, which puts them in a league with practically no
On Gas Up, Blow Up they assert the same eminently danceable, yet
craftily complex and heady attitude they have for years. Yet, they still
sound as fresh as they ever have. Drums and Tuba practice musical
abstraction without ambiguity or incoherence. This is achieved through a
razor-sharp focus and deftly crafted mood that forces the listener into a
state of adrenaline-induced elation.
From the trance-like opening track, "The Great White Whale," to the harder
hitting "Zepplin," (Mostly Ape sessions), they emit the same level of
and commitment. On "Zepplin," and "Rock the Mess," also from Mostly
sessions, D&T interpret rock and roll in a way truly all their own. Besides
the fact that no other band has a similar line-up of drums, guitar, and
horns, they make their mark on rock through a brazen approach to
improvisation and an almost single-minded concentration from the band
members to push each other's limits by way of exhaustion. With Neal
McKeeby's frenzied guitar and Tony Nozero's hard, focused, and incessantly
inventive drumming, they create a one of a kind sound stamped with the
indelible mark of these thoroughly methodical, yet free-spirited musicians.
On "The Short Giraffe," (culled from the Vinyl Killer sessions),
(horns) infuses his wonderful penchant for melody with an other-worldly and
almost offensive use of impassioned off-key blurts from his trumpet or tuba
for seconds on-end during two of the songs climactic waves. These islands
of aggression are surrounded by a sea of beautiful calmness and peace, which
builds slowly from the beginning and tapers off towards the end into
silence. This song, like many others on Gas Up, Blow Up, illustrates
D&T's ability to make music that is visceral and psychologically
illuminating at the same time.
The dream-like notion of disbelief is present throughout this collection.
How can a band create a sound so indistinguishable yet instantly
mesmerizing? Perhaps to answer this question would ruin the whole point of
why we listen to a band like Drums and Tuba. The various elements that go
into creating an art of substance are not the things that excite us.
Rather, it's the formation of those elements into a single, living,
entity capable of moving us that gives us the reason to go out and