Gone Gone Gone – The New Deal
Sega’s Phantasy Star anyone?
Few bands in any genre excite me these days quite like The New Deal. Their
first album still gets regular play in my stereo at home and my computer
at work, and their live shows, particularly the ones at the Bowery Ballroom
here in New York City, have become staples of my concertgoing experiences
and memories. So, when a copy of their new album _Gone,
Gone, Gone_, arrived, I was quite excited to listen, and listen often.
What I found was not quite what I expected, but compelling nonetheless.
From the opening notes of this album, The New Deal's exciting new
direction (pun intended- playing off a song title, for the uninitiated) is perfectly clear, noted by both the relaxed feel
of the first song, and the appearance of (albeit lyricless) vocals, but
vocals nonetheless. I'll say this: I applaud The New Deal for adding vocals
to some of their songs- not because their music was lacking but just because they felt the urge to introduce this element. At the same time, it
cannot be ignored that the vocals, appearing on several songs, help bring
the sound of the album a little closer to generic, something I've found the
band never was, despite playing music such as house, which can get as
generic in its own way as anything you hear on the radio (Linkin Park
Even so, the vocals, which undoubtedly will be the most noticeable aspect of
the album, cannot hide, mask or draw attention away from the stellar
musicianship the band displays on nearly every song. "I Feel Love" [the group's instrumental take on the Donna Summer top-10 hit from 1977) is not
only as good as anything on the album, but is potentially its highlight. "Homewrecker" is up
At the same time though, the album has moments of
overproduction, which some might say stifles the intensity The
New Deal is known for.
However, if you look at it from
another vantage point – the appropriate one in my humble opinion – Gone
has a nice, loungy feel to it- more laid back, less
in your face. If I took this album out with
me here in New York, and played it in every club I went to, nobody would
know the music they were listening to was made by a band and not by a DJ,
which, one might well say, is one of the finest compliments you can pay The New
The album is, not surprisingly, certainly "interesting" and, to a degree,
varied, while still maintaining a sense of its own identity. "A Little
While," one of the relaxed tracks with vocals, could easily be played in any
lounge at three o'clock in the morning, while "Episode 7" sounds like an
between Oysterhead's "Owner Of The World," and any of The Disco Biscuits'
hardcore jams. In the end, Gone Gone Gone is an album you can throw
on at any party,
throw on in the car or apartment, and listen straight through until the end.
It's an album you can listen to while getting ready to go out at night, or
you can listen to it while going to sleep. The disc is, hopefully, just
another step in the long journey The New Deal are going to take with their
career — one that I am more than willing to follow until its very
end. And this album is anything but that. It's a beginning. It's a new
direction. An exciting new direction.