The Gamits – Antidote

The Gamits

Foot-tapping: check. Headbobbing: check. Singing along: check. Airguitar: check. Wondering why you haven’t heard of this band before: check. You’re listening to the Gamits.

Yes, the Gamits inspire movement to a copious degree. It’s just impossible not to, because the Gamits are quite possibly the best power-pop band I’ve heard since Weezer.

When I first heard the Blue Album by the Weez, I was blown away by the energy of the songs more than anything else. Only after I got over the blistering pace of their songs did I fall in love with their absurd distortion levels, volume levels, and passion levels.

I caught the same bug when I heard the Gamits. Every song on Antidote has a raw energy captured inside of it that’s just clamoring to get out. The choruses aren’t just catchy, they’re gripping. For example, the chorus in “How to Escape” is a slice of power-pop heaven – thumping guitars in a bouncy riff with two singers create the tightest harmony since “My Eveline” on the Deluxe Edition of the Blue Album.

This same songwriting garners the Gamits moments like that all throughout the album. The highlight of the album, the epic “Born and Raised Afraid,” features the emphatic call of “We don’t have to sleep in our own beds if we don’t make them!” I can’t even explain why this line is so majestic – there’s just something in his vocal delivery that makes you want to yell along with him.

That’s another underlying element of the Gamits: the vocal delivery is perfect. Every song is just bursting with exuberant thoughts and emotions from Chris Fogal in the form of jubilant, sing-song vocals. To document every instance of great vocals, this review would be as long as the album itself is. Other than the times I’ve mentioned, the intro to “Bloodstains/Picture Frames” is excellently sung, as well as the Cake-like verses of “Open Window.”

But there’s more to this album than energy, catchy choruses, and vocals – the songwriting is genuinely unique. It does feel of Weezer a bit, but it’s more sophisticated and mature than Weezer has ever been. The songs are much more complex than Weezer’s, and it’s quite unique for a power-pop band to stray from simplistic song structures. The best example of this is the simple-sounding (but not simply-played) acoustic closer “Bridges,” which features a complex single-note pattern as the main riff. One could also look at the breakdown in “Open Window,” which happens to be in 3/4-time. Wait a minute….a power-pop group experimenting with other time schemes? Believe it.

All in all, this is a downright menacing release. If you like pop/power-pop/pop-rock/rock at all, get this; this is the best album of those genres released in the year 2004 so far. I can’t stop playing this; it’s just an amazing exercise in upbeat power-pop. If you hear this, you’ll dance. And don’t try to lie and say you didn’t. I see it in your eyes.