Buffalo, NY is a small town. Long before I turned my talents to penning music reviews, one of my first jobs was stocking shelves at a grocery store, where I had the opportunity to work with none other than the cousin of Robbie Goo, of Goo Goo Dolls fame. On another occasion, I quite literally ran into Ani DiFranco while shopping. My girlfriend at the time was in college with the drummer from Cannibal Corpse. It was that sort of place.
Thus it is with some regret that I must say I never had the pleasure of meeting any of the folks from the gifted children, a musical collective from Western NY that have apparently churned out over 1300 songs over the past 13 years - about a song every 3.65 days, according to my calculator (math ever was my strong suit). I can't vouch for the quality or variety of most of that work, but I can say that whitespace differences, their latest album, is most definitely worth your attention. That is, I think it's their latest; as prolific as they are, they've probably recorded another album in the time it took me to write this.
It's difficult to pin down an act like the gifted children, at least on this album, which is all over the place musically, and yet seems to fit together into a cohesive whole. Opener "plot:god" is both upbeat and ominous, something like The Jesus & Mary Chain with Mary on vocals and Jesus providing the fuzzy, lukewarm background noise. But just when you think you've got them pegged, the children pop into the jangly "velvet rope", a pleasant radio-friendly ditty that belies the shoegazery sound found elsewhere on the album.
Each song brings a new direction: "ah, Pan-" is like a Rush rock anthem remixed by Moby in the middle of a blizzard; "grace" sounds like Saigon Kick back from the grave, with simple guitar and percussion and wonderful harmonizing; "infection swat flyover" has fuzzy, choppy vocals sung over an ominous guitar hook that keeps threatening to break out into an AIC song; "tinhorn planets" is like God Lives Underwater meets The Industry of Life Divine. Don't know who that is? Maybe it's time for a trip to Buffalo for a lesson in a true indie music scene; I know some gifted children who'd be happy to teach you.
Favorite Track: "Grace"
Michael Fiegel is a freelance writer and graphic designer. His diverse
background includes journalism, radio copywriting, technical writing,
game design and music reviewing. He is best known as the creator of the
Internet cult sensation, Ninja Burger. He can be reached at email@example.com or at his website,