Review by James Ballinger
It doesn’t feel like 4 years have passed since the last Gaytheist record. Sure they’ve released a live record and a split 12-inch with Good to Die labelmates Rabbits in that time, but the last proper LP for the Portland, Oregon trio was 2013’s Hold Me… But Not So Tight. Regardless, Gaytheist have crafted their finest work to date with Let’s Jam Again Soon released earlier this month.
Nothing here is a drastic departure from their previous work; if they weren’t your thing before then this likely won’t convert you. What will immediately stand out to familiar fans is that the record sounds even better than anything they’ve done previously. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by longtime collaborator Stephan Hawkes, it’s an incredibly crisp sounding record. This allows the band to really flex all their muscles. The bass and drums sound bigger, instantly apparent on the album’s opening track, “Three Words”. Drummer Nick Parks and bassist Tim Hoff come across loud and clear throughout, with Parks especially shining. The clarity of the record only enhances how remarkable a drummer Parks truly is, ferociously evident on the second track “Extravagant Lie”. In its brief 30-minute run-time, Let’s Jam Again Soon has more than its fair share of noteworthy moments. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Rivera (inadvertently) channels his inner Jon Weisnewski (Sandrider) for a brief vocal moment on “Let’s Get Astrophysical”, there’s that breakdown halfway through “Scraps”, the pop-drenched melodies of “On My Knees”, and the feedback driven harmonics of “Choist” are just a few of the many that come to mind.
Everything that makes a great Gaytheist record is still firmly intact. It might be some of the bands heaviest material, but the tongue-in-cheek sense of humor also remains. Guitar tones are a little more aggressive, adding a slightly heavier element to the band’s genre-bending blend of punk, noise rock, and metal. But Gaytheist are hardly one of those bands that can’t make up their fucking mind about what kind of band they want to be. They know exactly what they are; this is just the definitive version of it.