All too often, when bands from back in the day resume their careers after a bit of a break, it is usually to relive past glories and, if such a thing were possible, ride the coat tales of their former, younger selves. And you can hardly blame them? Thankfully Gear’s return to the sonic fray is marked with no shortage of creativity and an appropriately forward-thinking outlook. I guess they believe that if you are going to try and recapture the rush of those earlier days, you can only do so by letting those creative juices flow properly and it is the uncertainty of new material which adds a real edge to the whole thing. As a wise man once said, if you ain’t living on the edge then you are taking up too much space. Exactly!
It would be easy for any band who first came together as the Brit Pop scene was reaching its zenith to return to work with the same bag of sonic tools as before. Firstly, it is a sound that they are comfortable with and secondly, the cyclical nature of music means that such music and style is, by now, ripe for revisiting. But Gear are not only smarter than that but braver too and in 2018 they reconvened not only to write a new chapter of their story but to continue its story arc into some unknown sonic territory. And whilst you can hear some of the same tones and textures in their music as before, Brit-pop buoyancy, indie cool, rock urgency and even some pop aware melodicism, for the last three years or so they have been writing and releasing music perfectly in step with the modern age.
Fine Smoke was that first full ep of songs, a succinct showcase of what the band is all about. From the subtle and supple songwriting of the understated opener, Somewhere Man, to the indie smarts of Locked Away and from the neo-Brit Pop inventiveness of Brother Man to the explosive indie-rock finale that is Mockingbird, Fine Smoke seems to cover everything from deft and reflective lyric-fronted understatement to the froth, fun and fire of modern music channelling an older rock and roll spirit.
And the band are putting their sound to tape once more, currently recording their debut album with kindred spirit and all round top producer and engineer, Michael McClusky at ZeroHour. The album currently doesn’t have a title but the band do have a live launch show scheduled for 15th October at Voodoo in Belfast.
Check out Fine Smoke here and if that isn’t enough to satisfy your taste for great music then you can get even further acquainted with Gear‘s grace and groove with these couple of videos which demonstrates exactly what you can expect.