With five studio albums, four EPs and two live albums under their belt, Gossip is not new to the game. Since 2001, longtime lovers of the genre-twisting, dance-punk band have been savvy to frontwoman Beth Ditto‘s brazen stage presence and witnessed how thoroughly guitarist Brace Paine and drummer Hannah Blilie enhances the trinity’s high-powered sound.
Passion for Gossip is more of a slow burn in the U.S., while in Europe, especially Germany, the Portland-based band is virtually Hasselhoffian in their appeal. According to Ditto, they’re perfectly okay with that, because if all else fails, beauty school is an option. But it looks like with their first album in three years, A Joyful Noise, this best-kept secret may not fly under the radar for too much longer. So Ditto may have to shelve her shears for a while with critics like Idolator labeling their second major-label effort as “the best album of 2012 … so far.” Gossip even has a celebrity super fan in Sacha Baron Cohen.
Singles on Noise showcase a more mature, post-punk sound that Ditto, Paine and Blilie have crafted over the past decade. The ironically ABBA-inspired dance tracks underlying Ditto’s sweet, angelic tone don’t detract from her signature operatic presence on “Perfect World.” And she still works the mic with an in-your-face flair in performances and music videos like “Move In the Right Direction.” Not some typical waif-like lead singer, Ditto is emboldened by her size (the embodiment of f**k you to the status quo) while she attacks Gossip’s polished, dance-driven songs with bravado. And like the diva she is, her voice commands your full attention and her wardrobe of goth-meets-70s-babydoll-pinup is as theatrical as ever.
Gossip built up a great din of excitement over the years. Here’s to them crossing over into mainstream and giving the American music scene something to really talk about.
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