The Gossip – Live In Liverpool

Who knows why it has taken so long for The Gossip to catch on in America? I sure as hell don’t, but the motherland of England has known what’s up for quite awhile. The band’s Live In Liverpool album lets us hear what The Gossip is really capable of, and how much Liverpool loves them.

Now, if the spirits of Robert Plant and Janis Joplin were to converge into one soul, they would probably be Beth Ditto. Ditto is a big girl with a big voice and doesn’t hide either one of them. She’s got a pretty, soulful voice that she can instantly transform with a blues-rock scream. The beats and melodies found in the instrumentation are simplistic, but solid, giving Ditto the freedom for the strong, seemingly Led Zeppelin inspired melodies that soar over the driving rhythms.

I must admit that this is my first real exposure to The Gossip. After hearing about them for years, deciding if I wanted to check them out or not, this album was thrust upon me, and I’m glad it was. They’re one of those great bands that defy classification of genre, yet you can clearly hear the influences of punk, soul, and blues. They rock the fuck out and you can either choose to headbang, dance, or just stand there and absorb.

My only complaint is with certain qualities of Beth Ditto’s voice. There’s a strong vibrato element that mars the purity of what I’m sure her voice could sound like. I’m unsure if this is due to nerves or the fact that she’s just flying around the stage so much, energy flying every which way. However, the shaky quality does not hinder the rest that the band and album have to offer.

Highlights include “Standing In The Way of Control,” “Yr Mangled Heart,” and a cover of the late Aaliyah‘s “Are You That Somebody?” proving that the only ones who can do R&B better than skinny black girls are big white girls.

The Gossip: website | myspace


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