Gum Country describe their own music as ‘harsh twee’, which may be the best way of putting it.
The two-piece, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Courtney Garvin (of The Courtneys) and multi-instrumentalist Connor Mayer, formed in Vancouver, Canada and are now based in LA. Their debut full-length, Somewhere, is a gloriously fuzzy cut of lo-fi indie rock, embracing the whimsy and simplicity of twee pop alongside the rough, noisy sonics of garage punk.
On Somewhere there are songs about the therapeutic fun of playing tennis ("Tennis (I Feel Ok)"), watering plants and talking to them too ("Talking to My Plants") , and even a quick ode to the Queen ("The Queen Rules"). It’s charmingly silly stuff, acknowledgements of the everyday sources of joy that we don’t always find the time to call attention to, or that we even write off as inferior to our grander, grown up pursuits. And though light-hearted, these songs do have their own gravity, in acknowledging the anxiety and discontent from which these joys provide solace.
Alongside these songs sit moments of more subdued introspection. "There’s A Crumb" paints a feeling of dissatisfaction, of stagnancy that leaves one feeling lost and confused; "Whoa Oh" is about a breakup and the existential self-reflection that comes with it. Garvin’s wry vocal delivery and the duo’s fuzz-layered power pop, however, imbue a sense of levity, and keep the record feeling consistently fun even in emotional honesty.
That word, ‘fun’, may actually be the best way to describe Gum Country. No reality is sacrificed for that; from the small everyday moments to the big battles that inform our lives, we know well everything that Somewhere documents. Rather, Gum Country’s fun is earned. They take a face-value look at life, and conclude that even when it’s hard, it doesn’t need to be heavy.