Gear at Cambridge Junction 12/03/06

Gear did a damn fine job tonight of taking what was otherwise a somewhat depressing gig and turning it into a worthwhile reason to leave the house. Possessing the stripped down sneer of punk but too inventive to be classed as nihilistic, Gear may be clear about where they're coming from but they've also put a refreshing amount of thought into where they want to go. And so the punkish bite of the vocals occasionally soars into New Romantic tunefulness or veers into high-pitched playground inanity; the lead guitar's trebley scratch metamorphoses into a hauntingly tuneful riff which takes the ear by surprise and pulls the sound together; and the Seriously Fucking Good drums underscore it all in a manner more industrial than shambolic. And the bass player sometimes holds a power drill up against his guitar, a gimmick which creates the coolest sound in the world. You should do that too, oh yes you should. It would make you a better person.

And yes. This mixture of the tried-and-tested and the ear-catchingly innovative is presented with a fitting amount of energy, nicely complimenting the music's sense of whiplashing centrifuge, and boasts a satisfyingly excessive volume level. Occasionally the hints of soaring New Romantic come too much to the fore, which doesn't really work when set against a set which is, on average, far more interesting than that. But when they stick to being deconstructed punk industrialists with nasty noise and heavy machinery drums, Gear's paradoxical open-minded take on punk classicism is very, very pleasing indeed.


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