Gravity Propulsion System – Poison Rays of Sound

Gravity Propulsion System
Poison Rays of Sound

Gravity Propulsion System is a band that has defied everything I thought it would be. Where I thought GPS would be industrial, it is more garage-rock oriented. When I expect noise, I get melody, and when I think a track will be instrumental the vocals suddenly appear. Poison Rays of Sound is an album that has surely surprised me at every opportunity.

Originally a two-man drum-and-bass outfit, Gravity Propulsion System has since added a third member manning guitar and a second drum kit. Add a bunch of tape loops, effects, amps, microphones, and even a Speak & Math to create the backdrop and you’ve got yourself a frenzied mix of sounds. All three members provide vocals at one point or another, and their lyrics focus on politics, the government, and mass media.

It’s not as ear damaging as it might seem on the surface though. GPS definitely has some sort of off-kilter sense of melody and song structure, although I wouldn’t say they are copying from any particular source. This is like noise rock that goes beyond the “hey we can make lots of sounds and just put them together at random” territory of some bands. There is a tighter focus here, I guess, while still maintaining a sense of unpredictability.

“Noise Weapon” is the most dissonant of the bunch with 35 second intro “The Talker” and its overlapping loops following closely behind. Other tracks fit the garage-rock label fairly neatly, like “Note to Girlfriend” and “Solvent,” but the highlights for me are in the more laid-back numbers. “Signal Jammer” lets the band’s sense of melody shine through the crunchy guitar and wall of feedback. I’m also drawn to “Sleep (They’re Coming)” for its languid attention to creating a mood.

Poison Rays of Sound also contains three videos for the songs “Radio Waves,” “Broken,” and “Change,” which is a nice bonus feature. I think I get a better sense of the band after watching these and dig the grungy, documentary-style footage.

Those interested in everything from garage rock to any of the “posts” (post-industrial, post-grunge, etc) will find plenty to like about Gravity Propulsion System. This release is a solid effort and although there are a few parts I personally would have left out, as a whole Poison Rays of Sound is worth seeking out.