With a growing reputation as one of the most exciting new outfits in the UK, The Gulps have released their latest single ‘Surrender’, a fast and frantic behemoth that celebrates eternal youth and bemoans resistance.
“Resistance to the present moment, to the now, no longer makes sense,” frontman Javier Sola explains. “The only thing left is to join eternity, an infinite youth that knows no quantifiable age.”
‘Surrender’ begins as a colossus, a collision of anarchic punk and anthemic rock that is hellbent on leaving nothing on the table. Thunderous drums and tambourines carry the track at rapturous intensity, with distorted guitars all howls and wails. Harmonising the riff pays off enormously, amplifying the prevailing sense of chaos and injecting a shrill, a glitz, a showmanship to the record, while losing none of the punch.
This showmanship is sustained throughout: the spoken, lo-fi ‘right’ straight after the first chorus is brilliant — undeniably corny, yet contributing perfectly to the swagger and confidence that defines their performance. Indeed, the way the group moves as a holistic organism is particularly impressive: there is a real tightness to their sound, indicative of graft and of an intuitive grasp of each other’s playing.
However, ‘Surrender’ runs out of steam in its middle 8. While the move to French lyrics works nicely and adds a certain, um, je ne sais quoi (my apologies), the decision to break things down and (after a long pause) build them back up again kills the momentum. You can totally imagine it working in a live setting, with the freedom to manipulate the tempo and arrangement to play to the crowd. Yet in the context of the studio recording, the track has been rollicking forward with such pace and vigour already that when things do eventually pick back up there’s nowhere left to take them: we return to basically the same place as before. Perhaps a more impactful strategy would be to close the track at the point of introducing the middle 8, maximising the cut-throat power of the minutes preceding it, clearing out in a fit of passion.
Despite this, ‘Surrender’ remains an impressive single, succeeding utmost in its attempt to have a Grand Old Time. Perhaps its greatest strength is its unpretentiousness: it is not as sonically creative as the band’s previous single ‘Mirror Mirror’, but it’s not trying to be; it’s not particularly profound, but it’s not trying to be. ‘Surrender’ is good fun backed by great musicianship that updates a sort of noughties garage rock that wouldn’t sound out of place on Q 2008. With frequent and enthusiastic support from BBC Radio 6, and the management of Alan McGee — you know, the one who managed Oasis — we can expect plenty more from The Gulps in the coming months.