The product of two Finnish siblings, The Gentleman Losers create music that’s custom-tailored for nocturnes. Sly, shuffling beats provide shakey backbones to skeletal tracks that float by with heavily reverbed guitars and loads of atmosphere as their debut album settles into a well-worn groove of half-decayed melodies and soft triumphs. Recorded on an abandoned mixer from the 50s, their music has equal parts modern day and crackled past.
The out-of-focus, sepia-toned cover artwork seems almost like a cliché considering the music that the group is making, but fortunately the duo has a knack for memorable melodies and subtle production flourishes. After opening with a static-filled intro piece of solo guitar, the album gets going nicely with “Gold Dust Afternoon” as overlapping layers of synths provide glinting backdrops to some dueling guitar melodies that tie the entire piece together. “Mansion On The Dunes” is just as solid, curling watery guitar strums around submerged beats and some chord changes that turn the track into a narcotic nighttime blues ride that doesn’t feel a bit long at over six minutes in length.
Part Angelo Badalamenti and part Labradford, The Gentleman Losers have created ten tracks and just under fifty minutes of music that sounds like it could have easily been pulled off a soundtrack to a mysterious, dark noir film. Just about every single track has a soft layer of grit on the surface (probably due to the ancient mixer they used), and it helps to give the release a sort of nostalgic feel. The amazing “Laureline” takes weaves some great slide guitar into another two-part guitar harmony, and along with some soft synths, it’s one of the more upbeat songs on the disc, crossing into almost spaghetti western territory.
It’s a testament to the duo that they can use such simple rhythmic elements and fairly standard instrumentation and yet create songs that are so evocative. Their album isn’t about dazzling with quick dynamic changes, but instead working their way into your head with their sidewinder songs like the ghost-town lament of “Slow Guitars.” This is music for seeing mirages to.