It feels anachronistic to learn that Chapel Hill quartet The Gondoliers formed only in September 2006 after frontman Todd Colberg took leave of his trusty Spinns. The Gondoliers—from their buried-in-bottles songs about good women who will never love their bad ways right down to the twinge of distortion they steal from overloaded microphones—sound like a gem lost in a garage junkpile. But such historical clarity comes blurred by psychedelic tendencies borrowed from peers (umm, predecessors)—The Seeds, The Amboy Dukes, early, driving cuts from The Pretty Things.
The Gondoliers howl and moan like the best of them, the believable brio of frontman Todd Colberg indicative of a dude who's gotten all the wrong breaks in love. On "Every Night," just as he's found "my old lady," he goes looking for another, if and when she's not home. "Raging Heart" is all skittering nerves in the drums and sulking treble in the guitar, appropriate for Colberg's confession of a unrequited lover watching his intended paramour from an unsafe distance. His solo—all gnarls and barbs, wrapping itself in a fuzzy mess, much like those of neo-psych hero Ethan Miller—stays true to sentiment: Being obsessed with loving someone can drive the fingers and the thoughts crazy. But it makes for a fantastic debut.