Gutterball

Gutterball

Mute, 1993

http://stevewynn.net/band_gutterball.php

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/21/2018

Here’s a forgotten indie rock supergroup for ya: You take Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate), House Of Freaks (Bryan Harvey and Johnny Hott), Bob Rupe (The Silos), and Stephen McCarthy (The Long Ryders) and you pair them together to make some rock. The band was over by about ’95 or ’96, but this record is quite different. The vocals of Wynn and Harvey are definitely not what I was expecting, but it could’ve been a bit better. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Eschewing the psychedelia of The Dream Syndicate’s sound, it’s more akin to House Of Freaks; lo-fi Southern-based alt rock. The clearest example here is “Top Of The Hill,” a shuffling ramble with some great vocals and music. Everyone in the band is really working their stuff here and it shows.

“When You Make Up Your Mind” is more along the lines of a traditional rock song: lots of soloing, good recording, and coherent vocals. But it’s not the best that the band could’ve done, which is part of what makes this record quite a disappointment. The one saving grace on lackluster track like “Think It Over” are the interweaving vocals between Harvey, Wynn, and McCarthy. This track is exquisite, but kind of ramshackle at the same time.

One thing is clear: these guys weren’t playing together to score a hit. Lots of the songs feel a bit too laidback for their own good. “Motorcycle Boy” just lags and is a miss for sure. “One By One” feels like a House Of Freaks B-side, almost like a Celtic sea shanty with proper background vocals. It’s one of the better tracks here.

Ultimately, this feels like a modern rock curiosity, a band that got together and got signed in the alternative rock flood that was overtaking the market and managed to get a mediocre record out and sell a few copies. There’s nothing more to think about, it’s just that easy.

Rating: C-

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