Gesture Of A Gentleman
By Ellen Eldridge
At first glance, A Fight to the Death appears punk and the name most certainly anticipates a heavy, if not death metal, style. Upon closer inspection, when perusing past a photo pasted on the cardboard cover, a collage of lyrics, pages torn from journals and images which sneakily make sense the deeper one delves, before the start of track one, purchasers of Gesture Of A Gentleman will have an artful package to seek poetry within. Almost thankfully, A Fight to the Death is not a heavy metal band, though describing its mix of influences and styles becomes challenging.
“Grant Park” opens the album with the strumming of a ukulele and a lighthearted atmosphere of quick drumming with a swing feel. The lyrics speak of a night on the town for all intents and purposes and comes across like a happy-go-lucky song.
The swinging feeling recalls ska music, but something inside the instrumentation feels old-timey. Images of old saloons in westerns come to mind brought on by the tone in the piano and accordion. Certain tracks feel more Latin and in the middle of one song, “Scissors,” the lyrics switch over to Spanish and fade into the guitar solo.
“Those Old Movie Days” sounds like a circus walking by; the rolling snare rhythms course underneath harmonized vocals making one think of acrobats jumping up and down high wires. Poetic humor runs through the album and can be seen in lines like, “We don’t regret the things that we say until we are out on our ass in the streets,” from “Motel.” “Glass” starts with a slurred, drunken sing along chorus of la-la-la, immediately recalling Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, Irish whiskey and the Dropkick Murphys.
Percussion instrumentation spans from drum set to doumbek and the guitar is amplified by dobro, pedal steel guitar and ukulele. Organ and accordion over bass and harmonized vocals make the record incredibly easy to listen to and invites the listener to delve deep. It’s not simply summer pop, but it’s not the late night cry yourself to sleep sort of release either. Sing along or listen closely; this is one CD which should be tried out by a wide and varied audience as many people will enjoy different complementary parts of A Fight to the Death and its latest release of Gesture Of A Gentleman.