Album Review | Gulfer – ‘Transcendals’
An album really speaks for itself when it can immerse a listener and make them feel as if they’re part of a large crowd, chanting and screaming their hearts out with no other care in the world…
Gulfer’s debut EP Transcendals does exactly this and more. The sense of community oriented music and personal narrative drives home a sound that’s tailored for everyone. This approach is a commonplace within the emo/math-rock scene, but what separates the Montreal trio is a seamless display of technical skill and familiarity that results in an exciting and uplifting sound.
Starting strong with opening track ‘Ten Souls’, Gulfer sets the pace for the entire album with an up-tempo tapped guitar part and vocals that resonate the lyrics “Distraught on violence day. You taught me how to hate.” Peronsally, the way the vocals are mixed on this album really drive the whole chanty-sound that makes each song so gratifying. ‘Tiki Marathon’ keeps up with more of the same pace and sound, but the constant thematic aspect of the album really makes you forget the fact that it’s comprised of individual songs. There’s a flow that reciprocates the excitement of a jam and party atmosphere, which personally makes me yell loudly and play air guitar in my car while driving to school. I do not advocate doing this for safety reasons.
Heralding back to what I mentioned about the vocals before, ‘Bauer Ranger’ opens up with a chanted vocal section, twinkly guitar parts and grooving drums that follow a smooth bass line. The whole song boasts a dynamic of heartfelt emotions that are almost tangible. There’s not many adjectives to describe how it comes across except for “fun”. It’s always satisfying to see musicians who are each doing amazing things individually and ‘Jurassic Spark’ really showcases that. I’m like a giddy little girl when I hear a drummer doing ghost notes tastefully and a bassist who transcends the music with jazzy parts. Closing out the album as quickly as it started ‘Shoreline’ differentiates itself with a rather large and clamorous ending section that’s cued with the line “I guess death takes time…”
As a devout follower of this vein of music, I can say that it was refreshing to hear a Maps and Atlases type sound mixed with the emotional values placed within modern emo music. For those who aren’t familiar with the genre, Transcendals is a great album to start with as it encompasses several different genres brilliantly.