Retromania has run rampant in rock music for many years. At this point in the once-rebellious art form's history, the smartest rockers compete to see who can most ingeniously rearrange the puzzle pieces of rock's variegated styles. On their engrossing debut album, Die Alone, Seattle quartet Gazebos have zeroed in on a combo of glam and new wave to express their skewed visions. It sounds like it sprang from some eternal glittery, skinny-tied 1979 of the mind, and I mean that in the most sparkling terms possible.
Produced by pop-punk maestro Kurt Bloch, Die Alone sounds unfit for the loudness wars. Thankfully. Instead, it allows each instrument to strut in its own lane—think the Pretenders' classic debut LP or anything by power-pop geniuses Shoes.
The four scene veterans who compose Gazebos—vocalist/lyricist Shannon Perry, guitarist TV Coahran, bassist Shane Herrell, and drummer Jordan T. Adams—seem like they're all peaking here. Coahran, an underground-rock fixture who runs the ggnzla label and plays with legend R. Stevie Moore, wrote seven of the disc's nine songs, tapping into a shockingly accessible side of his creativity while showcasing his radiant, James Honeyman-Scott–like spangle. His songs pump, swerve, and squawk with an indelible brashness, aided by Perry's badass, debauched delivery—a wicked blend of Chrissie Hynde, Poly Styrene, and Grace Jones—and lyrics depicting gnawing, wry disaffection.
Vertiginous, dadaistic album-opener "Just Get High" is one of the most impressive drug songs this druggy city has produced lately. "Blend" proves Gazebos can do woozy balladry with defiant dignity. The fetching stutterfest "Ere Specka" twitches bewitchingly like an embryonic B-52s B-side. "Boys I Like" is a rueful showstopper that ODs on charisma. But the song that shoots the most sublime adrenaline is "Not Allowed," a perfectly realized cover of new-wavers Suburban Lawns' uptight speed-freak jam. It epitomizes Gazebos' knack for making bleakness sound like a party you never want to end.Gazebos will be performing at Sonic Boom Records on Thursday, February 18, at 6 p.m., free, all ages. And their record-release show is Friday, February 19, at Chop Suey.