Gentlemen Hall plays such an interesting blend of synth-pop, dance and electro that it was really only going to be a matter of time before you heard of them. The band hails from Boston, naming itself after a speakeasy, which is fitting since its music embodies party aesthetics. The members met at Berklee College Of Music three years ago and rapidly began their ascent, making it look easy. Since they started, they’ve won a VMA for Best Breakout Boston Artist, been named Best New Local Act by the Boston Phoenix—Passion Pit being a previous winner of that title—and triumphed at Billboard‘s Battle Of The Bands, perhaps Gentlemen Hall’s biggest boon. “Tonight, one of these bands’ lives and careers is going to be changed,” said Sugar Ray frontman Marc McGrath when he hosted the battle in Las Vegas this past May.
McGrath couldn’t have been more right, because now the gents in Gentlemen Hall have a debut LP, When We All Disappear, out this week. The band is no doubt celebrating over a few of the smoothies named after them, courtesy of the Ben And Jerry’s ice cream company (you can only grab one if you’re in Massachusetts though). But it isn’t just big names in ice cream the boys have been rubbing elbows with; they’ve taken the stage with major commercial acts like the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Britney Spears. At a time when record labels simply haven’t got the capital to invest in new artists, it takes either incredible luck or incredible skill to reach the height of the national stage. Gentlemen Hall is blessed with both.
To label Gentlemen Hall’s sound as simply “club music” fails to do it proper justice. There’s a strong current of club anthem running through its songs, especially in the choruses, but that’s only one page in a much larger book. The band snatches influences everywhere—in one song you’ll hear hints of Daft Punk’s electric-infused drums and synth hooks, and the next minute your ears catch a guitar riff straight from the indie playbook. The best example would be the group’s song “All Our Love,” as a disco beat is the first link in a musical chain reaction that explodes into perhaps its best chorus. It goes back and forth like this from a rapid fire verse to a drawn out chorus seamlessly. It’s the mark of a good band to be able to do that, and a mark of an even better one to do it consistently.