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The Gontiks = Deerhunter + Explosions In The Sky
Brisbane-native and Salt Lake resident Gibson Bracken is a barista by day and an unassumingly talented (and perhaps underappreciated) implant in the local music scene “by night.” Under the moniker The Gontiks, Bracken brews ear-snagging demi-pop with crafty synths. . _ _ is a small yet satisfying outreach that warrants a spin or two, especially with decent quality headphones or a proper home audio setup. Opening track “._ _” is perplexing and experimental yet undeniably lovely, with a singular piano, lyric-less vocal swirls and soft electronics. “I Could Be Something” is spiraling and glitchy in a glistening fashion, with gentle vocals positioned in the background of delicious synths. A slightly irritating spoken word section is placed a bit awkwardly midway, a disruption to an otherwise enjoyable track—however, this addition may appeal to less fickle listeners.
An entreating sense of a desire to be heard and recognized is infused through the EP, perhaps a relatable narrative for a certain massive, youthful subset of society currently striving to locate their existential placement in the world. Standout track “Lost?”, a melodic and layered exploration of pleasantly staccato piano and multiple electronic loops, manages to convey a simultaneous sadness and playfulness, perhaps an apt summation of the millennial strife. “Unknown Artist” encapsulates the overall tone of the EP via an upbeat sonic persona and bittersweet lyrics sung with the strongest vocals in the entire collection. Once more, a semi-rapped bridge and piano solo cut into the track and feel a bit shoehorned and distracting. Inclusive of a few minor foibles, this tune feels like something to be heard, reflecting the hopes of Bracken throughout the EP. . _ _ is a curiosity of sound and story, with a universality of fragile hope and early adulthood angst. For its brevity, this EP leaves the listener contemplating their own struggle to define self in an increasingly bewildering social stream. –Paige Zuckerman