I'm a sucker for progressive tracks. I love that gradual build-up of instrumental layers as each brings a wider sound to it, until the crescendo hits its peak and the vocal comes in. Perhaps it is a clichéd way to approach song writing: possibly the outcome of working backwards from the chorus and trying to find a "way in". Regardless, I'm yet to tire of it and there are still bands out there that are doing it very well. New Jersey group Your Gentlemen are one of them.
Their first LP, 'Sincerely', provides a bountiful eleven songs of pleasing indie rock filled with great guitar effects, expansive moments of synth, and yearning vocals, but it's the progressive opening track 'Dead, Almost' that keeps me returning. Whilst some of the other tunes may offer more thematically and lyrically - and may well be "better" songs - 'Dead, Almost' is an excellent start to the album. The minimal guitar and light background drone carries us through to the first words, where the instruments then drop back a little, preparing themselves for another go when they will be met by the drums and cymbals.
The song peaks at just the right moment - fifteen seconds before the end - leaving just the appropriate amount of time to wind down to the final strum, and avoiding any sense of aimlessness that could occur with a lengthy diminuendo.
'Sincerely', as a whole, is begging for a listen with its impressive songs, but 'Dead, Almost' stands out especially as a fabulous beginning to Your Gentlemen's story.
If you visit their BandCamp page, you can still download for free their previous release 'Play Their Songs': a five-track EP which includes two songs from the album.
"I just wrote one song at a time. Kinda like an alcoholic: One day at a time" - Neil Young