The Gnomes of Chicago possess a strange and forlorn vision of meat-and-potatoes midwestern USA rock. The music suggests afficionados of Guided by Voices, Pavement, and the Meat Puppets who have spent too much time listening to Steve Miller and Hurdy Gurdy Man, i.e., strange and introspective guitar-based songs infected by decades of AOR. Lyrics range from surreal imagery (In Dreams I Walk with Peg's Caprice), inane confessions (I'm just another fool / in tambourine school) to haiku tenderness (I give you water / fertilizer / you grow your leaves on your own). Pop and rock vie for supremacy, as do the twin themes of creativity and mania (There's a nest of snakes inside my head / I try, I'm trying to unravel it). Andy Larson and Bob O'Malley (former members of Midas Amputee) are joined by Jim Kompare (Paper Airplane Pilots, ex-Uniform) on drums and, since completion of debut disc, Ryan Duffy (Paper Airplane Pilots) on guitar. Contributions from Portland poet Dan Larson, keyboardist/painter Lucky Comb, and photographer Mike Henning make 'Gnomes I' a collection to cherish -- or share with a special friend. The Gnomes are somewhat reclusive and modest to a fault, but disclose their hobbies include 'love and art'. They ask me to convey, in conclusion, 'we think you will like us'. -- Lucky Comb, Chicago, 2004.
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