February 5, 2013

Song Review: Gun Outfit's "Flyin' Low, Maria"

Good taste in small quantities is one thing that does not elude Post Present Medium, the label ran by No Age's Dean Spunt, and since its inception, it has amassed a low-profile roster of excellent musicians from all walks of the Smell scene's noise and punk rock life who get too damn little credit for what their potentials hold. Olympia, Washington's Gun Outfit have always been one of the label's constants who meet that criteria, with a tendency to release an excellent LP every few years and then go completely quiet to the point where you wonder if they're still active (word on the street awhile back was that co-front vocalist Carrie Keith doubles as a top-secret government employee, so that probably has something to do with it.) Well, it looks as though they're still alive and together, because as of April 2nd, their third effort Hard Coming Down reacquaints the world with their rare presence. Three years ago, Gun Outfit's highly overlooked sophomore LP Possession Sound brought the rustic '90s northwest post-punk ideals hashed out during their whirling 2009 debut down to a dark, murky lake. Logically, their new LP's first single "Flyin' Low, Maria" finds Gun Outfit confronting the uncertainty of its depths with forced interruption and fearlessness, as Keith and co-conspirator Dylan Sharp's entwining guitars proceed at first with caution before giving way to slash and burn angst under drummer Daniel Swire's fight-or-flight guidance. Gun Outfit recommits itself to rootsy punk spirals here, yet as "Flyin' Low, Maria" unravels more unknown limits to the trio's energy and unrestricted amounts of space, you find yourself walking away just as surprised by it as you were the first time you ever heard them.

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