show recap: gamble house
  • THURSDAY, JULY 29, 2010

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Photos by Michelle Geslani. For more shows, check out our photo section


The band is probably tired of hearing this from the press, but there's really no getting passed it: they sound a lot like Grizzly Bear. Much like that group, the man behind Gamble House, Ben Becker, also graduated from NYU. He went on from brainstorming in college, to starting a record in Brooklyn, to finally finishing it up on the West Coast in Los Angeles all on his own. I'm not entirely sure how Grizzly Bear goes about their songwriting, but the fact that Becker alone fashioned together the lush, rolling and ethereal sounds that are sprinkled throughout their self-titled album is pretty impressive.

What's more is that it's Gamble House's debut; they've only taken one shot at this and already their music seems like it could have been the lost B-sides of Yellow House (see their songs "Central Park," "Rising Tides," and "Bonny Doon"). Who knows where the band's next steps will take them? They could easily take their wild creativity and relentless experimentation to a higher level on their next album. So while at this point some may see the Grizz comparisons as 'old news,' or a reason to devalue the band, I mean it as a complete compliment. Becker's got something big brewing in his mind and I'm excited to see what he's got planned next.

Live, the group (who are currently supporting Rogue Wave on tour across the country) is spot-on. Somehow, Gamble House make the creation of their dreamy, whimsical and atmospheric songs look so freakin' easy. They don't have a whole orchestra or choir in tow to produce all the pretty and subtle elements, they get more than fine with just four people.

Much of their music, with its easy-going, slowly swaying pace and uplifting and almost heavenly harmonies, has the ability to really just captivate and hold you in a peaceful kind of trance. Instead of the reality of being in a dimly lit venue, watching four scruffy dudes play their instruments, it wasn't difficult at all to imagine myself maybe floating away on a cloud or swimming in a field of sunflowers. Yes, that might be a little cheesy, but honestly, the music tends to caress and seduce you that way. They have no flashy gimmicks to sell, or weird musical contraptions set up on stage. For lack of a better phrase, their music simply speaks for itself. At the end of the day, Gamble House were meant to be felt, not gawked at. -michelle geslani

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Pictures: Gamble House at Mercury Lounge

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