“Smile, because it confuses people. Smile, because it’s easier than explaining what is killing you inside.” These hauntingly evocative words were uttered by the Joker in a cinematic classic. They were also the first words your Tonemamas thought of when listening to Gooseberry’s glorious new single, “The Protagonist”.
According to the indie-rock band we are the protagonists of our own epic lives (enter a sarcastic tone voluntarily depending on how confident you’re feeling at the moment of reading this). As we go through life slipping between screens and non-screens (aka “reality”), there is an element of control and measuring how much we have of it. In Gooseberry’s own words, “this is a song simply about laughing while you lose control.”
For such a layered and dynamic musical expression, Gooseberry is a surprisingly young band (celebrating their 1st birthday this fall!). The Brooklyn-based 4-piece band is made up of Asa Daniels (vocals and guitar), Colin Ashen (drums), Sam Rappaport (keys and vocals), and Will Hammond (bass). Despite the brief time that’s passed since their band’s conception, they play together like they’ve just come off a ten-year world tour, such is the uniformity of their sound.
An electric guitar and a snug bass sound further kneads this sentimental-sounding musical texture before we hear Asa Daniel’s smooth vocal timbre (reminiscent of old-schoolers like Mick Hucknall). His vocals are unimposing yet demand our attention as he sings about rolling down the car windows, laughing at a loss of control while leading us into a small rhythmic build-up that opens up into a satisfying and melodically catching chorus. The music feels live, organic and it’s the kind of chorus we can imagine belting out adoringly while swaying our bodies at a Gooseberry gig.
Best listened to: While driving alongside a coastline somewhere in Sydney or Cape Town (yes your Tonemamas can dream while being cooped up in NYC), with the windows rolled down and the sun beating down.
Listen for this moment: The chaotic instrumental section with at 2:23 with a hard-hitting rock vibe and exquisite, cascading guitar riffs