July 2, 2018
The Gays are certainly not afraid to pack a profound punch when it comes to delivering their goods. Their debut album The Agenda, is packed with catchy beats, bombastic bass, slick drum kicks, sexy guitar licks, and solid vocals, which at times are harmonically reminiscent to the early years of the late, great David Bowie.
Sonically, the first few songs feature a predominantly bass-oriented soundscape with a club-like beat that conjures a group-like atmosphere. This is further emphasized by the lyrical content. "Opening Remarks" offers a "figurehead to address the floor" with "sacred scripts". Likewise, "The Community" suggests a development in both growth and power within the group. "You'd like to get on my level/Good luck... ...You think that we're not getting better/But that's just a lie". The song also boasts extremely catchy bass and guitar melodies with edgy vocals to further drive the message of vim and vigour.
"Funk Friend" is easily the earworm of the album. It has a fantastic vintage vibe to it thanks to the funky wah-wah guitar and fuzz bass. With an extraordinary up-beat groove in the bridge section and a chordal roundabout in the chorus, it's impeccably catchy and nearly impossible to not sing along to.
Perhaps what's most remarkable about the continuation of this album is the musical transition from bold resilience to timorous vulnerability. At the midway point are songs like "Pretty Boys Make Me Feel Ugly" and "Contemplative Interlude". "Pretty Boys Make Me Feel Ugly" continues to endorse the driving force from the first three songs, however lyrically, there is an underlying tone of disillusion and disconnect: "You got great hair/What does that say about me/White teeth/All the better for biting... ...You know that I don't care if you came to love me/ Pretty boys make me feel ugly... ...Every time they come around/This is what they do". This is followed by "Contemplative Interlude", which, although lyrically vague, can perhaps be interpreted as the external and internal struggles one experiences when trying to fit in with their communities, their peers, and the justification of their own personal preferences in life. Ultimately, it's a fight to survive with often inequitable consequences.
Closing the album are four songs that are more simplistic in textures than the previous half. "No Love In The Village" is easily the turning point of the album. Instead of heavy bass and beats, it features strings and synthesizers supporting the vocals, with the bass outlining a softer melody underneath it all. There's an open-texture arrangement here, which is very different from what we've previously heard. The lyrics offer a bleak outlook, suggesting isolation, sorrow, emptiness, and fear; a far cry from the confident lyrics of "The Community" or even "Funk Friend". Although "Wrong #" has more edge to it, it's not like the edginess we've already experienced. There's an aggression stemming from vulnerability and hurt: "They say it's all over/Wouldn't you agree, man?/Well, what a bummer/We were just starting to fit in... ...Can't you see the way that they suffer?/See it in the way that they bleed... ...I heard it's in their genes". "Our World" continues the open-texture atmosphere with merely vocals and an electric guitar. The bridge features some excellent chord progressions, while the lyrics continue the themes previously explored in "No Love In The Village".
The album closes with the removal of all things electric. With a stunning vocal performance and the tender support from an acoustic guitar backing, "Out of Love" is easily the strongest and most captivating gem on the album. It's a conclusion in the most self-reflecting of manors. The delivery of the lyrics are precariously executed with tantalizing vibratos, breathiness, and pauses that leave you clutching for a resolution. It's the perfect end to a powerful, yet highly vulnerable Agenda.
For more information about the Gays, The Agenda, or where to hear the album, please visit www.gays4days.bandcamp.com.