As far as album titles go, “Make It Sound New” is a pretty bold one. And the five guys who comprise Oklahoma City band Gum aren’t joking, either.
With guidance from Trent Bell and the equipment in his Bell Labs Recording studio, the young group’s debut (they’re all around college-aged or fresh out of school) nicely juxtaposes a certain sonic wisdom against the songwriting of messy, emotive, mid-20s lives.
The album swings with John Baber’s old-timey saloon piano melodies and alternating murky guitar tones from Joe and Levi Bello. The former Bello’s singing is warm and never strays outside his range, occasionally tinged with rage (“I Can Tell”) and longing (“Get Ready for Summer”).
“Eyes Get Low,” for instance, captures an intimate moment before expressing the narrator’s fear of losing it, then longs for the idyllic: “I would just go where I don’t know / Where everybody tells you what you wanna be told.”
It’s a wonderful surprise of a disc that recalls many of the fundamentals of a North Carolina band called The Love Language, which opened for Local Natives at ACM@UCO last year. If the guys of Gum keep writing and recording together, there’s no reason they can’t wind up in a similar boat.
Check the band out at gummusic.bandcamp.com. —Matt Carney