Sensory Overload: Scott Gursuch shows off a new invention and a deep well of shattered garage-pop tunes at Ace of Cups
It turns out singer/guitarist Scott Gorsuch, who moonlights in Bloodthirsty Virgins in addition to fronting his namesake band, is something of a mad scientist. On a recent Tuesday at Ace of Cups, the musician debuted his newest invention: a magnetic, double-neck electric guitar.
Gorsuch opened the band’s hour-long set strumming what he described as a “travel guitar,” a shrunken instrument with a body roughly the size and shape of a jewelry box. Following the third song, however, he pulled out a second guitar and snapped the smaller instrument in place, creating a double-necked Frankenstein, as seen in the accompanying photo.
“Want to see something weird?” he asked in introduction. “My little traveling guitar is actually this!”
While Gorsuch’s invention was notable for how it came together, the various characters populating his songs stood out for the myriad ways they fell apart. On one tune, a character strolled through a downpour questioning his or her sanity, and on another a battered and broken soul awoke to the realization they had nothing left in the world, save for a massive hangover. On “What Can She Do,” life’s indignities so overwhelmed the protagonist that all she could do was scream into the night to release the tension — a frustrated feel Gorsuch matched with balled, cranky riffs that sounded badly in need of a catnap.
Even tunes that opened with optimism — “You are my everything,” Gorsuch pledged on the new song “Marry” — quickly unraveled amid shattered promises, growing apathy and romantic atrophy. “I was so delusional, I have to say,” the singer crooned as the number drew to a close, the instrumentation falling apart as steadily as the relationship at the cut’s core.
Though the lyrics were generally fractured, the music, constructed around Gorsuch’s scrappy fretwork and the steadying hand of drummer Matt Mees and bassist Phil Maneri, never wallowed, the three bandmates bashing away as though the Ace of Cups stage were a junk-strewn garage. Taken in combination, these competing elements suggested that the only ways to deal with the mounting frustrations of day-to-day existence are to keep your chin up and to keep swinging away.
Andy Downing photo