So, doing this review is breaking a couple of rules I try to stick with on CPRW. The first being not reviewing bands that have split up and the second is not reviewing something that has been out for longer than three months. I had to break these rules for this superb release! The band in question are Los Angeles based three piece Gentlemen Prefer Blood. The band released their final EP, Weathered, in September last year on La Escalera Records and It's Alive Records – two superb labels. Unfortunately, in September, the band also announced they were breaking up and played their final show at the beginning of October. I sadly only discovered Gentlemen Prefer Blood this year and fell in love with Weathered before finding out they split up.
Weathered begins with the song Demons Are Real. This is mid-tempo punk at its best. The song starts at a slow and thoughtful pace, gradually building towards the big sing-along that the song's beginning threatens immediately. Bands such as Elway are fantastic at this style of punk rock and Gentlemen Prefer Blood really give them a run for their money on this track. The use of gang vocals always puts a smile on my face and this is the type of music that begs for a massive sing-along. Up next is The Loner, which continues with the mid-tempo punk rock sound. The guitars and a chugga chugga sound throughout literally being the engine of the song, while the melody comes mostly from the vocals. The contrast in the melodic vocals and the more driven guitar is what initially caught my attention when first listening to the track and it was the chorus that really kept me around. The song does eventually allow the guitar to shine with a bit of a solo building towards a final chorus that, again, uses gang vocals – making the song sound big.
Bees Knees has more of a Lookout Records pop punk style too it, perhaps not surprising after discovering that one of the members of Gentlemen Prefer Blood was in Big In Japan. The tone of the EP changes slightly to a more upbeat and bouncy sound that keeps Weathered feeling fresh. Despite being more of a pop song, the tempo never really changes as the band seem to focus on melody rather than speed. It's a short song but it's a lot of fun. On the fourth track, Return Policy, the tempo does get upped as Gentlemen Prefer Blood take you back about twenty years to what for me was the golden age of pop punk. If you loved The Mr T Experience, you'll love Return Policy. The song starts off in quite a fashion with some crashing drums opening the track. The drums thump throughout, really keeping the energy high. For the first time on the EP, Gentlemen Prefer Blood bust out some killer harmonies, which should be expected on this style of pop punk song but were enjoyable nevertheless.
The penultimate song on Weathered is named Coke & Spiriter (which should be pronounced co-conspirator). Gentlemen Prefer Blood revert back to that midwestern gruff punk sound that opened Weathered here. It begins with the repeating lines of "we've come a long way home, we've come a long way following the hope, don't get lost" that will quickly have you singing along. It's a pretty simple sounding song that's really effective, you can't help but be drawn in to. Even the extended outro to the song has this brilliant quality to it that just has you wanting to listen to it more and more. The EP is completed by the song Unless You Say. Throughout the song the drums seem to be turned up louder and play a simple beat, giving the song a solid spine that allows the guitars and vocals to be a bit more playful. Unfortunately, at times it's difficult to pay attention to much else other than that repetitive drum beat. There's a section in the middle however that slowly builds, towards the song's finale which features some of the EP's best harmonies to finish Weathered off in a lot of style.
Weathered was a great little surprise and I'm so sad to discover that the band decided to split not long after its release. It's one of those brilliantly simple records that always finds a way to worm its way into my heart and mind. Even though Gentlemen Prefer Blood are no longer a band, this is still a release to check out!
Stream and download Weathered here: https://gentlemenpreferblood.bandcamp.com/album/weathered
Like Gentlemen Prefer Blood here: https://www.facebook.com/gentlemenpreferblood
This review was written by Colin Clark.