With a smattering of musical styles from punk to country to blues,
the latest full-length record from Gas Huffer captures the spirit of
Northwest rock 'n' roll perfectly.
Longstanding staples of the NW underground music scene, the Seattle
punk-rock foursome incorporates everything from punk's speedy
two-beat drumming and sludgy grunge-fed playing to rockabilly guitar
licks and jazzy, finger-snapping rhythms. Produced by renowned NW
engineer Jack Endino, The Rest of Us, the band's sixth album,
recalls a take on music the great Pacific is known for: a muddy mix
of dirty rock, an open mind, and songwriting that spreads itself
liberally across multiple genres.
The album evokes nostalgia for the days before grunge exploded,
before the media's glaring spotlight shone down on the emerald city
following the release of Nirvana's Nevermind. The Rest of
Us sends you back to a burgeoning, buzz-filled time when a number
of Portland and Seattle post-punk-rock acts could be seen at the
local dive club for five bucks, without the industry hype and masses
of fans. Gas Huffer maintain a sense of loyalty to their homestead
'90s-era roots, but also, dodging any tendencies to repeat what's
been done, offer fresh songs that are catchy, raw and hip-shaking fun.
Opening with the gritty, hard-rockin' title track, the 14-song record
ventures from classic to punk to psychedelic without losing the
listener, letting the small ride from the various influences feel
natural. "Ghost in the Lighthouse" reminds me of a Pixies song with
its droning vocals and galloping melodies, while "Lexington
Nightlife" might be the most infectious and fun for the danceable
Chuck Berry-like guitar line and cool-cat jazzy beats. With
impassioned singing, reflective lyricism and dreamy soundscapes, "The
Day the Bottom Fell Out" stands out as the slowest, most emotive
The Rest of Us may not elevate the listener to ecstasy or
shock the world with a new, of-the-moment sound. But, encompassing
the essence of the NW scene's rock history at its best, it will
please its audience while making us natives proud.