The Gossip have been making punks dance since they debuted 10 years ago, long before dance punk existed. Soulful and jagged, you can hear everything from Dischord to Motown in Brace's playing. Now, with the addition of drummer Hannah Blilie (Shoplifting, ex-Chromatics) they have a new thundering beat for the kids to dance to on the corners and in the clubs.The next thing that smacks you is Beth's voice, all the guttural blues of the South is in that inimitable instrument. It resonates with the confidence that is in her lyrics asking people to hold on just a little bit longer, re-assuring the youth that there are others out there, and spitting in the face of all who say otherwise! ''Standing in the Way of Control'', their third album, was recorded by Guy Picciotto (Fugazi) at Seattle's Bear Creek. From heartbreakers like ''Coal to Diamonds'' to the anthemic title track, released as a single with a Le Tigre remix, the band is unafraid to put it all out there and take their audience to new places. This is the sound of a band destroying and surpassing all expectations placed on them.
It's flatly unfair that the Gossip aren't a massive success, a rocknroll giant slayer, especially as they unleash another 10-song, 30-minute zinger like Standing in the Way of Control.
Singer Beth Ditto's boundless, whether shouting out the title song's chorus or feather-dusting the lyric on Meg White-sounding album closer, "Dark Lines." The band rocks with an unerring simplicity, a leanness that writhes. The big-beat, hop-along (and sing-along) "Listen Up," is the centerpiece here, a stripped focus on the Gossip's core conviction, that rhythm can rock like little else. The tune has Ditto holding court over a bluntly simple one-two beat, cautioning a crowd that by rights ought to be tenfold larger: "now gather round/now listen up," warning them that "some people talk way too much." As Ditto stuns, drummer Hannah Blilie's beat pounds, and Brace Paine's guitar lays down a simple law. Ignorance of that law is no excuse. --Andrew Bartlett