Gary B & The Notions – How Do We Explode
Gary B & The Notions play short, snappy guitar pop songs with funny, idiosyncratic titles and lyrics that almost dare you to underestimate them. But their forthcoming second full-length album, How Do We Explode, out on May 8th, retains the light, amiable mood of the Baltimore band’s previous recordings while cranking up the volume and, more crucially, the nervous energy inherent in frontman Gary Lee Barrett, Jr.’s songs. The result is something a little more compelling, a little sharper, than the seemingly lightweight power pop the Notions built their rep on.
The appropriately pyrotechnic sound of How Do We Explode comes down to personnel changes since the Notions’ last record, 2009′s New Twist & Shout. Here, Barrett Jr. and founding bassist Kris Heath (also of Aldo Nova) are joined by drummer Rick Bowman (also of The Frauds) and guitarist Bryan Elliott (also of Liars Academy). In the past, the Notions has been a power trio with only Barrett the band’s only guitarist. The addition of Elliott in particular makes the Notions’ sound thicker and more textured than before, making possible songs like the brief, surging pop gem “It Could Be” and the wailing fretwork of “Too Busy For An Ambulance Ride.”
The fourth track on How Do We Explode, “Lyndsy Fonseca,” is named for the actress seen as Ted’s future daughter on the TV series “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s hard to tell from the lyrics exactly what the song has to do with her, but it’s easy to imagine Barrett, Jr.’s offbeat imagination turning to a beautiful girl who occasionally pops up on television, and the gears in his head turning until they crank out another strange, catchy song.