How About That – Gisli

Label: Emi Records

26 year old Icelandic/Scandinavian beat boy Gisli is seems to spend most of his time in front of his eight-track thinking of something profound to say, and yet no amount of cute one liners on debut album ‘How About That’ ever amounts to the kind of slack-jaw genius of evident hero Beck. Populating your cut n paste cultural narratives with all manner of social outcasts, whether its junkies, hookers, evil lawyers, overweight bankers, television presenters (‘How About That? ‘I Don’t Fight’, ‘TV =The Devil’) or relating self-consciously bizarre tales about Gareth Gates and penis envy (‘Go Get em Tiger’, ‘Worries’) is no real substitute for first hand experience and it’s this that Gisli lacks. The fact that Gisli spends most of this record emulating the red-neck, stream of conscious funky anti-folk of ‘Loser’ and ‘Beercan’ as well as re-writing immodest volumes of ‘Pay No Mind’ and ‘F…in With My Head’ suggests more than a passing acquaintance with Beck’s seminal slacker hip-hop album ‘Mellow Gold’. Gisli even sounds as if he’s mastered the same southern drawl as his master, not to mention the slacker-chic shitty drum and guitar sounds. It bears all the dust and debris of lo-fi but none of the battle scars, so when the emphatically European Gisli chews rhymes on everything from ‘hamburgers’, ‘layers’, ‘hookers’, ‘bitches’ and ‘softball’ its lack of authenticity seems all the more conspicuous; the desperate Americanisms of his lexis thoroughly at odds with his less than glamorous roots.

Whilst tracks like ‘Straight To Hell’ eschew the flip-out pop nerdiness of bands like Sum41 and Something Corporate rather than more credible surf-rock like Weezer, there burns a bright light of discernible talent in the Evan Dando-esque combo ‘Worries’, ‘The Day It All Went Wrong’, ‘Mind Games’ and ‘You and Me’ – proving that when Gilsi finally dispenses with the faux American parlances and stops listening to Beck he may just have something quite precious to offer.

share this:
Release: Gisli - How About That
Review by:
Released: 21 September 2004