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Attention (attn) - Ex-Gratitude members reform to acclaim

Attention

Feature by Jack Foley

WAY back in 2005, a new band called Gratitude was picked out by the New York Times as one of the 10 bands to look out for that year. The ensuing debut album (self-titled) lived up to that billing, featuring 12 timeless rock anthems including the excellent single Drive Away.

Superstardom seemed to beckon. But then nothing. The band reportedly faced many difficulties after the album’s release, given the poor commercial response to it, and guitarist Mark Weinberg (originally of Crumb) left the band in June for personal reasons.

Gratitude continued touring as a four-piece but as rumours circulated that they’d been dropped by Atlantic they eventually released a statement on November 25, 2005 claiming that they had in fact decided to split.

Well, three-fourths of Grattitude have now got back together to form a new band, Attention (attn), comprised of bassist Robert Lindsey, guitarist and lead singer Jeremy Tappero and drummer David Jarnstrom. Eric Malmberg completes the line-up on guitar and backing vocals.

They have recently laid down a six-track EP, called Stand Strong, and will be heading to the UK in May, hoping to pick up on the good vibe generated already in America, and the fond memories that former Gratitude followers may have (from their triumphant appearances at Reading and Leeds, as well as support slots for My Chemical Romance and Jimmy Eat World).

The EP certainly boasts some impressive credentials – having been produced and engineered by Grammy winning Chris Testa (Dixie Chicks, Jimmy Eat World), mixed by Grammy Award winner James Harley (Lucinda Williams, Quietdrive) and mastered by Vlado Meller (Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis).

And the result? Well, on the evidence of a fair few listens, pretty impressive. Fans of pop-punk should find plenty to enjoy, from the full speed ahead intro that is Everytime I See You and Almost, to the more heartfelt likes of Never Tear Us Apart (not an INXS cover!) and Raise Your Glass.

The latter two, in particular, display a keen ear for melody, some strong lyricism and a cracking set of vocals from Tappero. Never Tear Us Apart, in particular, is the sort of rockin’ power ballad that boasts easy appeal to a broad listener base, including fans of Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, My Chemical Romance and even Nickelback or Bon Jovi. The guitar work, too, shows plenty of potential.

Raise Your Glass, meanwhile, is a definite cigarette lighter in the air number – a stripped down slow-builder that, again, boasts broad appeal (and could well find its way onto a Michael Bay soundtrack). The lyrics are nicely reflective, and the vocals suitably angst-ridden. It’s probably the catchiest number.

Elsewhere, Stand Strong is a lively crowd-pleaser that explodes into life, while Heart Attack is one for the heavy brigade and certain to get the Kerrang writers gushing.

But whether breaking out the guitars and unleashing some heavy hitting riffs, or slowing things down and displaying some sensitivity, there’s enough on the Stand Strong EP to, erm, grab your Attention for all the right reasons.

To find out more, visit their myspace site or head down to London’s Barfly on May 16. It should be well worth the journey.

Read our interview with Attention