Album Review: The Gumps – “The Gumps”

Gumps Album Cover

Thanks to the advancements of technology, D.I.Y. recordings no longer automatically draw visions of fuzzy audio on cassettes and hand written insert for CDs (although the personal touches aren’t always a bad thing). Readily available equipment and tenacious spirit is all most bands require these days to produce an album that not only will preserve the spirit of D.I.Y. but also help with that all too important facet of having recorded material to get your foot in the door with show bookers. Savannah locals, The Gumps, comprised of Matt Hewitt, Patrick Caviness, and Tucker Weston, have taken this to heart and the band’s self titled debut album is a prime example of the triumph of D.I.Y.

The Gumps self-titled debut album is a raucous ride that definitely hits you with some unexpected shifts along the way. At first, I’m inclined to call The Gumps folk punk as it seems the most fitting genre, but it doesn’t completely do them justice. There’s a bit of AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) in there, which is especially evident in songs like “Anger Issues” which, as one would expect, talks about working through personal struggles as best we all can. Then again, the band shows that they’re not out to take everything too seriously with tracks like “Love Song” in which Hewitt and Weston provide a serenade about the things that young lovers pine for with a playful euphemism based on a particular method of barbecuing that I’ll leave up to your imagination.

While some folk punk bands have shed the minimalist approach and embraced more complex instrumentation — like Defiance, Ohio and Ramshackle Glory — The Gumps’ 3-piece sound incorporating bass guitar, ukulele, and drums is surprising full, especially when combined with Hewitt’s and Weston’s call and response style of vocals. And if you don’t think that a ukulele can rip just as hard as any other stringed instrument, give “Watered Down” a listen and get back to me.

The Gumps is certainly a bit rough around the edges, but for an album that was entirely recorded at an in house studio, it’s a fantastic listen. Every element of the album carries a D.I.Y. feel to it, even down to the album’s cover art, which was made by the band and I hear is proudly nestled behind Gump House Studios. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of the album, give The Gumps a shout via Facebook or track Hewitt, Weston, or Caviness down at a local show and ask them about grabbing one of the beautifully produced CDs as the album isn’t quite available online yet. Trust me, they’re all good people and none of them bite. I hear they might even deliver the copy to you if you ask nicely enough. Besides, you get nice physical copy and you’ll likely make a new friend in the process. Win-win situation, right?

If for some reason you’re a bit shy, well then catch The Gumps at one of their several upcoming shows, especially their upcoming show with The Fuzzlers, Linda, and Tommy Techno coming up on July 16 at Sulfur Studios.

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