The first time I heard Gin War play was in Brooklyn, NYC around a year ago. A few things had interested me about the Long Beach Island natives, besides me being a fellow jersey-ian. Their sound is all at once unique and familiar, and for their most recent release, Peachy Keen, Gin War has broken down what I loved about them, and made it ten times better.
Peachy Keen is Gin War's debut full length, and it follows two EPs (both of which you should check out) including Half Of A Good Plan (2014) and Piece Of Moon (2015). The 8-track album features members Kyle (Guitar), Brandon (Guitar|Vocals), Plank (Bass|Vocals), and Joey (Drums). Released on December 18th, Peachy Keen was recorded/mixed/produced by Bryan Little, and mastered by Jesse Cannon. The collection seems like it came together in a beautiful, effortless kind of way. One that was unexpected, but also comfortable.
Check out the tracklist for Peachy Keen below!
Peachy Keen Tracklist:
2. Silent Movie
3. Hell Alright
6. Think So
8. Back So Soon
And that feeling of comfort I brought up? Maybe it's because three of the tracks off of Peachy Keen are remastered songs from previous EPs. Tracks like "Silent Movie," "Honest," and "Wink," have been remastered and stripped from their harder, more indie based forms, and transformed into a softness that highlights their written uniqueness.
Is it wrong to say I prefer the stripped versions? Without the added beat of a drum, and a toned down guitar/bass, the emphasis lies more on the emotional output of Brandon's vocal performance, and lyricism. Of course, out of the 8-tracks on Peachy Keen, five of them are new! Which is great for listeners, and fans of Gin War, who were ready for new content.
Opening track "Salt" is the perfect example of what I was speaking on earlier: bringing in what worked from the old, and upgrading. It sets the album up for the tone - easy going, like the constant push of waves on the shore. It picks up around 1:40 in pace, highlighted by Brandon's voice (to die for). "Salt" also is the only track off of Peachy Keen to have an accompanying music video, which you should check out below!
Remarkably these tracks feel different, but doesn't that show a good range of Gin War? I think so. It's important that bands take their sound and constantly improve them, change them, warp them into something new - and Gin War did that simply by toning down, parring their work.
It's hard to pick a favorite from Peachy Keen, as most of the songs vibe in a similar direction. I think some stand out tracks is definitely repeat track "Honest." Another song I'm super into is "Hell Alright," because it's form takes on a different sound than other tracks - the lyrics are bordering abstraction, while the guitar tip toes around in the background.
Final track "Back So Soon," which introduces a piano, is probably the perfect closing track I've ever encountered. It takes in the entirety of the album, and breathes it back out for listeners, like a final 'hoorah.' Not to mention, the lyrics for "Back So Soon" are absolutely flawlessly executed. "My heart don't beat it shakes / when you are not around / my love it drips in waves / when you are gone," exudes an emotional tenderness, that in different EP formats, would have been drowned out by the instrumental technicalities.
And maybe that's what's most important about Peachy Keen. Gin War's typical sound, one with a more robust guitar, a heavier hitting drum, the rhythm of the bass, to follow; with all of that stripped out, you're left with the meaty, hearty core of Gin War. Peachy Keen feels like a tribute to that: to love and loss, to longing, to escape.
All of the reasons I fell in love with Gin War in the first place, now highlighted and placed on a pedestal in the 8-track album, consider me thankful.
I've included a Bandcamp stream of Peachy Keen above for you to check out!
Definitely check out Gin War, because they're making huge gains in the scene! They just recently joined The Saluto Agency as well! Listen to Peachy Keen, formulate your own opinions, send them flowers. And for more on Gin War, check out their social media below!
Gin War: Facebook // Bandcamp // Website