Review: Gin War, ‘Piece of Moon’

by Joel Funk • 2 years ago

Written by Joel Funk

I can’t remember how I first heard about Gin War, but hindsight is telling me that I should have paid a little more attention to ‘Half of a Good Plan’ than I did last year. When I listen to that record, it’s not hard for me to see why it fell so flat for me. It’s not because the songs are bad. In fact, a lot of what they got right on ‘Half of a Good Plan’ is what makes the songs on ‘Piece of Moon’ feel as flourished as they do. The reason that ‘Half of a Good Plan’ wasn’t a record I came back to was because the songs felt, for lack of a better word, neon. These songs feel like they could have been featured on an early The Maine record. I’m not going to even try and discredit anything The Maine have done, they’ve have written some stellar pop songs, but it wasn’t anything that I was actively looking for in music.

It’s always been clear that Gin War can write one hell of a soaring chorus. That’s the one trait I’m glad was carried over onto ‘Piece of Moon.’ These five songs feel like the natural next for them. There is a distinct Americana vibe that seems to stem from the Jersey scene that I can’t help but love. You can hear it when you listen to Run For Cover’s newest signee Pinegrove, and it’s made it’s way into this new batch of Gin War songs. This sound is at its most concentrated on the first song of the EP. “Cement” is a fuzzy pop song with a chorus simple enough to find itself stuck in your head, but not simple enough to sound like droning.

It’s the kind of pop that I grew up with. See, I was a product of Myspace and shamelessly found myself singing along to the entirety of that one A Rocket To The Moon LP for far too long. I found solace in the fact that it was pop music that required the use of guitars and drums, but that didn’t mean the songs were any less corny (See: Mr. Right). While there’s nothing quite that unforgivable on ‘Piece of Moon,’ I will say that “Still Mine” came pretty close. It’s cute, and I can see a younger audience swooning over this song, but I’m glad that it’s only just over a minute long.

“Can’t Survive” is my favorite song on ‘Piece of Moon.’ I don’t know if I just have a soft spot for closing tracks or if bands just like to save the best song for last, but this is the same spot I find a lot of my favorite songs fall into. It feels like a culmination of the four songs that preceded it. It’s got the same feeling as “Cement” with a much more toned down version of the cheese-factor of “Still Mine.” It’s a strong way to close the record, and both Gin War and Quiet Fire Media should be proud of this collection of songs. They seem to have a knack for working with bands that blow up almost immediately after (see: A Will Away), so I can only imagine what the future has in store for Gin War. Hopefully we’ll get a killer LP of these sweet Jersey pop songs.