San Francisco’s El Gato Dice is at it again and has released their third CD, conveniently enough called “Tres.” While that title doesn’t wow the imagination, the CD itself is actually more adventurous than previous releases. Remnants of singer/songwriter and pop-shoegaze are still there, but this time the record is peppered with glam, pop, and even shards of metal. The result is a ten track voyage that still most accurately identifies as post-punk, but some parts are much more commercially accessible while other parts are experimental. It’s an engaging listen, that nods to 90s glam, 70s art rock, current pop, and decades of post punk.
Recommended Tracks (4) Someday Soon and (8) Keep A Fire
FCC: mild adult language on (3) Alright Already
1. Simplest Design (3:49) begins in understated fashion but ultimately introduces elements that will be thematic throughout “Tres.” Alternating vocalists (Pollyanna Bush makes several guest appearances- starting here), pop-shoegaze guitar, spoken word, and unexpected bursts of energy define the track.
Tame (3:18) is catchy, infectious, and has a deliberate 90s sound (Pavement meets Love and Rockets.)
3. Alright Already (2:43) is light commercial metal or heavy Carolina indie rock, depending on your vantage point. It’s mildly political and does feature the only non G-rated language.
4. Someday Soon (4:28) follows with a pop guitar and lush chorus, also very 90s but brought into the modern era. It too is a slow burn but comes together at the end. A lot happening but never busy.
5. Earthbound (2:28) is a short, almost novelty track that features affected vocals (like a ringmaster through a megaphone) and a very college-radio indie feel.
6. Hoy No Hay (0:54) comes completely unannounced as a 45 second death metal intro to
7. Tres (3:12) is a genre-bending instrumental that picks up where “Insatiable” from the Dos CD left off, but also dabbles in Sabbath 70s psychedelia and…space movie soundtracks.
8. Keep A Fire (3:57) is probably the most topical (gun control) and fashion-forward of the album. It’s angry Cake or political Beverly-Hills-era Weezer, and then it proceeds to a frenetic ending. This one features David Jesitus and Alexis Blair fully alternating on call-and-response vocals and it ends up being a lot of fun.
9. Stop Leaning (3:06) is a semi-sweet little ballad again featuring Pollyanna hitting the high notes. Belinda Carlisle dueting with Morrissey (?) perhaps.
10. Bonus Life (4:17) closes out “Tres” on a somber, psychedelic, powerful note. It’s 70s glam, set to a plunging distorted guitar and actual mock video game ending.