Album: Shadows of the Moon
Gills is an alt-country/ blues rock band based out of Buffalo NY. Band members include Duane Gills, Kristine Gills, Jim O'Brien, Mike Ryan, and Dan Solari. Some of Gills musical influences range from classic rock like the Allman Brothers, and U2, and Foo Fighters; along with country artists like Reckless Kelly, and John Mark McMillan. The band has just released their first full length album titled "Shadows of the Moon". Recording for the album started in November 2016 took a little over 6 months. We all know the working band's struggle, having a family and a full time job, while still trying to make time to get to the studio, rehearsals, and gigs. It's not easy, but it makes the release of an album that much more to celebrate. The finished record features ten heartfelt, thoughtfully produced tracks focused around great songwriting and a dynamically driven band.
TRACK BY TRACK
1. "Shadows" - This song starts off with bright piano, and builds adding bass guitar, and drums. Jazzy guitar chords weave in and out of the verses. The melodic piano pushes the song along, as the lyrics tell a story of longing, and seeing someone everywhere, that isn't actually there. "Any time I'm in need of direction, I take a breath and I look in the mirror, and oh, I see shadows of you"
2. "Beautiful Lady" - Acoustic guitar over light hits on the snare with brushes begin this track. Throughout the song lead guitar adds flourishes of melody, vocals layer into each rotating chorus, also adding cello. "I feel my heartstrings pull being so far from home, and in the morning I search for you, I look but I won't find, I scream and yell out your name, it'll be in vain". Searching sleepy-eyed for a love that's vanished, being far from the ones you once loved, vowing to continue to love them, even if it's in vain.
3. "First Kiss" - "How do we capture love that we need bad, let's start with that first kiss, the first time your lips touched mine, then remember that first night, the first time we opened a bottle of wine". Reminiscent of the popular duet "Picture" by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock, male and female vocals going back and forth, each asking the other to think back to their first kiss, to remember the good times. Acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and lead guitar fill out the sound, each giving way to the other to allow dynamics and solo melodies.
4. "Date" - Ever been on a date that ended too soon? Or how about, a date that couldn't end soon enough? Gills describes a night out on the town, that doesn't stop at last call... good times that never stop. The drums begin this song with a cool rolling beat, leaving room for a melodic bass line, and lead guitar, with percussion shining with shaker throughout the song. In the vocals, there is a nice back and forth of "Grease-esque" moments between Kristine and Duane."Roll down the windows and try to sing along, if you ride with me, this date will never end".
5. "Faces" - Things slow down here on this ballad, allowing the listener to settle in and reflect. Kristine is featured with lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, piano comes in after the first chorus and lead guitar. Each instrument playing a vital role to the overall production and emotional feel of the song. "Looking for the answers in all the wrong places, getting mad looking in the mirror, staring at my different faces".
6. "Dying to Stay Alive" - A song about grieving, and the aftermath of loss, or losing someone. "How am i supposed to move, how am i supposed to breathe, you were my girl, you were my everything", Duane sings. The song layers organ, bass, drums, acoustic guitar. doubled vocals in the chorus, a notable, impassioned, lead guitar solo.
7. "Tornado" - Soothing rain sounds, then upbeat acoustic guitar, drums pick up, electric bluesy guitar sections and walking bass lines. "Tornado" goes into the flip-side of a good relationship, the dirty underbelly that usually goes unseen when things go sour. "Storm came and went so fast, that the aftermath has been felt around here for days, maybe longer".
8. "Battered City"- Somber guitar chords, and forlorn vocals telling a story of a battered woman, running back into the arms of her abuser. This song ebbs and flows, adding organ drums bass, great tight instrumental grooves and lead guitar riffs. "Is it okay for me to just walk away, that's the day your roses died.."
9. "Truth in a Bottle" - Acoustic guitar and vocals start, as the full band comes in, trumpet is featured with lively melodies and rhythmic choices, also showcasing more lead guitar work that really brings this song to life."Is that truth in a bottle is so much easier to swallow than seeing myself for who i really am". A lot of people struggle with alcoholism and depression, and find it easier to reach for the bottle, than to face their demons or regrets head on. Duane sings of the human struggle of facing yourself while sober, finding the truth "easier to swallow" from the bottle.
10. "Gazebo Song"- Last but not least, we come full circle with a tune starting with bright piano and quickly falling in with bass, guitar, and happy go lucky vocals. Great harmonies, and lead guitar solos, also one of the most notable choices on the album, having gang vocals on the last chorus, leading into a full on accapella sing along with the sound of the summer breeze blowing through wind chimes, and the subtle sounds of a backyard BBQ with friends. "Cut off jeans and flip flops are all you need to get by, leave your worry and stop and say hi".
Overall this album is a home run for Gills, taking us through a roller-coaster of emotions, and sharing deep honest lyricism through melodic full band productions. On their website, there is a picture featured with each track of their debut "Shadows of the Moon". Giving a visual insight to each song, and also making the album stand apart from others in the same genre. We look forward to hearing what's next from Gills, make sure to stream / consider purchasing their album on Bandcamp!