Stoking the fire 


There's a particular determination about Gasoline Heart's old-fashioned roots rock: Though surrounded by a sea of increasingly transitory musical infatuations, this Orlando band holds stubbornly to the notion that they just don't make it like they used to anymore. That "it" is rock & roll, and they are true believers.

Released on Georgia indie label P Is for Panda (home of other notable, like-minded Florida talents like Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England and Damion Suomi), Gasoline Heart's self-produced album is a pillar of unflinching traditionalism. Springsteen, Petty, the Replacements: It's all in there.

Beyond style and dogma, however, Gasoline Heart's music is about tasting heartbreak, realizing that it makes you feel alive and then coming back for more. The songs vacillate between exploding-heart idealism and world-weary cynicism. There's something remarkable about their refusal to allow anything to obstruct their massive hooks. Moreover, the hot-blooded, throat-peeling delivery makes it all soar. It isn't complicated or new, but these guys mean it. This isn't about invention, it's about romance.

This album contains a higher proportion of plaintive numbers — the finest being the crestfallen folk of "Difficult" — but anthems are what they do best. "What We Are" and "Armadillo" move in wide, tuneful swings, while stormers like "Can't Keep a Good Kid Down" and "Look Up Baby, You're Bleeding" simply shoot for the sky.

Nostalgia may not be sexy, but it'll prove enduring, and though not as precise and snappy as their previous album (You Know Who You Are), it's still a big shot of classic American glory that never goes out of style.

music@orlandoweekly.com

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