When I first got this album to review, I went looking for information about Gypsyblood, and I had a difficult time. Their Facebook and last.fm pages combined described the band with 9 words (technically 13, but 4 of them were the same on both pages). It seems there is little more to say for Gypsyblood than that they were formed in 2009 in Chicago, and are, indeed, a band.

My first impression was that either Gypsyblood are letting their music speak for itself, or they just don't have a great deal to say. This latter option comes in two forms - the strong, infallible silence, and the vacuous abyss of a band who, to be honest, don't have many ideas. Maybe this final assessment is a little cruel, but listening to opening track of their new album Cold In The Guestway, I wasn't enthusiastic about having my life changed by this band. For a start, the anthemic riffs which carry 'Take Your Picture' are unrelenting, the rhythm unchanging from beginning to end. In fact, throughout the album, unexpected rhythms seem to be something Gypsyblood just aren't interested in. Perhaps another reviewer on a nicer day might not find this repetition mind-numbing, but I doubt it.

The first four tracks, as well as demonstrating that the rhythmic content of Cold In The Guestway is far from inspired, are full of missed notes and harmonies that grate on you. The only thing that marks Gypsyblood out from other bands with similar shouty, repetitive styles, is the presence of 'noise rock' guitar, scratching and moaning under 'Take Your Picture' and '2-4-6 InTheDark'. Admittedly, this does provide an extra bit of interest, another layer to listen to if you really like it, but if you aren't so partial, another layer to try and block out.

The album starts looking up at 'Superstition'. Not that it gets any less repetitive, with calls of "And the boy said! And the girl said!" hammered home every verse. However, from track 5, there is less pointless noise to disguise bad songs, the rhythms start getting more considered, and even the drawly vocals of 'Dirty Thieves' are more listenable. 'Manofstates' returns to noisiness, though to better effect. However, that unsubdued garage rawness returns to its former inglory in 'When I Was A Boy'. I'm sure someone somewhere will say that I don't 'get it' because I don't like the cacophony, but cacophonies are alright when they feel purposeful, as in the intensity of Sonic Youth's early albums; Gypsyblood aren't good enough to pull off the same density of sound.

Even then, memorable riffs on 'My R.K.O. Is M.I.A.' and 'Hey Gloria' close the album in more style than it started, and there are tracks on Cold In The Guestway which are worth returning to: the best are 'Superstition' and 'My R.K.O. Is M.I.A.'. I can imagine that in a live performance, these guys would have a lot to offer - perhaps they've captured the live sound a bit too well on this record. An okay album with potential, but it needs a good producer to come in, re-take a lot of the vocal parts, and tell them which bits to leave out.

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