Launched in Lyon, France, by a bass player, Gonetcha is an eclectic alternative rock project that started out in 2017. In that same year Gonetcha released “Métro de Pensées”, an album mixing French and English lyrics with rock and groove instrumentals. March 2018, saw the project drop its second album – “Mission” – recorded entirely in English, and inspired by a mythological heroic journey. I’ve been waiting since the late ’70s, listening to hundreds of new groups and recordings during that time, trying to capture that old feeling of sitting down with an album devoid of dazzling modern-day electronic gizmos and violently sung pop vocal hooks. Something that could take me on a journey to a higher place where musical styles, genres and boundaries melted away for the greater glory. Rare albums like those were addictive for me, a young musician myself, requiring many listens to unravel deeper mysteries and joys.
This Gonetcha album is one of very few to somehow succeed in the same way and on almost every level for me. I realize how much I’d missed sitting down for a spell with such engaging music that shines from that captivating higher place. Every element here seems just right, flowing seamlessly, and the world suddenly seems better. Hard to describe such music without sounding a bit unhinged with excitement, but that’s the feeling I get from this effort.
Trying to explain exactly why “Mission” stuns me would be an overwhelming task. Suffice to say that the masterful balance of composition, musicianship, and production strikes me most of all, with a special nod to the excellent guitars and drums throughout.
The insightful and oddly uplifting lyrics, the extended instrumental excursions, the lush harmonies, and the constant attention to the swing of emotional highs and lows, all coming from that great place above. Every note and beat matters here.
That Gonetcha is powered by a bassist, is evident on “Lobster Game”, where the instrument practically performs as a lead instrument, holding down the rhythm and playing a counter melody in juxtaposition to the guitars and vocals.
“Pumped Up” is another track that has captivating bassline, except here the guitar also plays a dominant role in giving the song an emotional edge. Gonetcha’s approach to lyrics, melody and rhythm is far removed from the simple modern pop idiom, and often reminded me of the complex musical sorties once forged by the genius of Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart.
The same equation applies to the vocals, which are almost always delivered in a deep monotone mode. But of course, any Gonetcha fan will tell you, he’s molded those influences into something all of his own, and magical in scope.
This is particularly evident on the sublimely left-field, back-to-back tracks, “Time Zone”, “Eight Stops” and “Submarine Wreck”. “What You Stole” showcases some crunchy hard hitting guitar riffs, and together with the roller-coaster “Spine Quirk” and “Unexpected”, is among my favorite tracks on the album. Although there is a cohesive and strong narrative to the album, there are plenty of musical twists throughout the 12 tracks to keep you on the journey right to the very end.
The project has certainly proven itself to have a master composer, arranger, lyricist, performer, producer, engineer, and whatever other role applies. Gonetcha has the exceptional ability to channel the heart of the ’70s progressive masters with his own contemporary vision and skill. Though the guitar is very audible in the mixes, if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that its Gonetcha’s confident basslines which ultimately dominates these songs.
While its prog rock and experimental roots clearly run deep, “Mission” is firmly planted in the present tense. Gonetcha has successfully managed to craft a masterful album of creative breadth and musical diversity, compared to the radio rut we’re stuck in now.