Gauche: A People's History of Gauche (Merge) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020  


A People’s History of Gauche


Jul 16, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

History can mutate when we're not looking. Official records will stifle the many voices that spoke; leaders and winners (usually men) take up all the page space; crowds get squashed down into the two or three contemporary mindsets. So when Washington, D.C.'s party ambassadors Gauche propose A People's History of Gauche for their debut, they offer us a narrative untainted by any gold leaf or red pen: a resistance, an awareness, a dotted line from the underground to dance upon. Most of these lessons might be over four years old nowolder than the Dark Age of Trump, evenbut the gang's geometric rhetoric seeks to rewrite, not retread, the grooves of our times.

Like all good revolutions, the Gauche party claims no leader. All five jolly members lend to the carousel of sound that revolves through A People's History; "Rent (v.)" feels like a house party in full swing, as everyone shouts and claps with Daniele Yandel (from Priests) and her firm stance against the male gaze. A giddy, Pylon-like choreography guides the flow, between fluid bass lines and breezy saxophones, between Pearie Sol's carefree keys and the barely contained indignation of Mary Jane Regalado (Downtown Boys). No matter what dense subject Gauche tackle, the gang's groovy camaraderie keeps their discourse part of the action; even the Gang of Four-like march toward self-determined worth in "Running" feels whimsical, a real question pondered in every color instead of a textbook example in black and white.

Still, while Gauche's whirligig creations might fly off the page, A People's History is nevertheless a history. Long-time party-goers will recognize over half of the album from Gauche's first tape, Get Away With Gauchebut that's of little consequence, considering how The B-52s-like espionage in "Boom Hazard" supplies TNT for independent women across the country; corporate overlords still dangle meager carrots over their starved employees' heads, which the gang decry more loudly than ever on "Pay Day." And nothing burns the system down like the recharged version of "Rectangle," where Regalado screams for accountability in a competitive marketplace: "look who gets away with sin/when everybody's trying to win."

As we've learned throughout this century, we have to preserve our own histories. With their debut, Gauche arm their audience with the tools to spot the gaps in the official recordand the energy to rise and revise. (

Author rating: 8/10

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