Having spent the past couple years wavering between self-doubt and having it figured out, Montreal's Gulfer have returned to the fore with their third full-length record. Composed of thirteen tracks of intricate, dexterous, and incredibly fun, punk-inspired emo tunes, Gulfer sees the Montreal quartet settled into their own with a career-defining record.
Set to be co-released through us and the band's first ever Canadian label in Royal Mountain Records, Gulfer is expansive in a way that sets it apart from the debut What Gives and the Pitchfork-approved Dog Bless. Delving into their collective influences by drawing from elements of grunge, shoegaze, and contemporaries Oso Oso and Prince Daddy and the Hyena, the band never turn their back on their earliest inspirations, with stylistic threads tracing easily back to Glocca Morra, Algernon Cadwallader, and TTNG.
Explosive, agile emo serves as the backdrop to guitarist and vocalists Vincent Ford and Joe Therriault's honest and vulnerable lyricism, with the two sharing the writing process on a record that tackles human nature; exploring self-doubt, resentment, complex relationships, climate change, and the waning of youth. The band never lose the sense of playfulness and fun that is omnipresent in their live show, an undeniable, electric energy that stems from being a group of close friends before all else.
Made to represent where they are, rather than worry about how they will be perceived, Gulfer is a statement of confidence and ambition. Free of former notions that they needed to write in a certain way to sound like themselves, the band instead went with their gut and wrote what came naturally. The result is their most definitive work to date, a record that focuses less on ultra-technical musicianship and more on structure, space, and feel. With renewed energy in their freshened sound palette and their most collaborative songwriting yet, Gulfer have created an album that sounds fresh and exciting, which is no small feat for a band with two albums, a handful of EPs, and eight long years under their belt. The deft and interweaving interplay of Ford and Therriault's guitars is grounded by bassist David Mitchell and drummer Julien Daoust, whose dexterities and musicianship animate the album with explosive, emotional kineticism.
Having toured all over the world through Japan, Poland, France, Slovakia, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Serbia and many more, and sharing the stage with the likes of PUP, Joyce Manor, Foxing, Into It. Over It., Title Fight, performing at festivals such as SXSW, ArcTanGent, and Pop Montreal, the band is well-positioned to take their rightful spot centre stage, galvanized by their newest and best record, Gulfer.
The album’s ooze of emotion-packed indie rock is so enticing and beautifully executed, with impactful lyrics being matched by energetic guitar riffs, both of which purvey a feel of melancholy to shadow the album’s deeper significance.
-The Alternative on "Dog Bless"
Full of intricately timed patterns and riffs, the song breathes with swirling melodies that are realized by multiple instruments. Whenever the vocals ride over top the always moving guitars there is a slight bit of permanence in the surroundings. Even if the song is about feeling nothing during boredom, there is an awareness that escapes the band’s psyche with their wonderfully syncopated parts.
-New Noise on "Fading"
One of the last revival-style emo bands standing sings about boredom and getting older on their frankly audacious second album.
-Pitchfork on "Dog Bless"
There are so many fun little bits to love here. Tracks like ‘Fading‘ and ‘Baseball‘ bring out the sunshine twiddles for all to see, while ‘Be Father‘ and ‘Babyshoe‘ are full throttle, packed with instrumentals to make you sweat.
-Birthday Cake for Breakfast on "Dog Bless"
Dog Bless feels like a new chapter for Gulfer, that sense of recklessness they manage so well curtailed with just the right amount of restraint, just the right balance between the dark and light. “Baseball” is indicative of that – but it also slams; those twinkling guitars, those guttural vocals, as interesting and invigorating as ever before.
-Gold Flake Paint