When I first heard about Of Gentlemen and Cowards, to be perfectly honest my first thought was to Of Monsters and Men. But no comparison can be made (even though I’m sure the boys would love to be talked about in the same sentence as the Icelandic superstars). OGC are a relatively young band both in how long they’ve been together and their individual age. They’re approaching their 3 year anniversary (in fact their Facebook page was created three years ago yesterday) and in that short amount of time have already accomplished a ton.
They’ve embraced both the future and the past in terms of releasing their music. In physical form, their music is only available on 7 inch vinyl records, otherwise their music is available digitally. With the exception of their demo/EP released in April 2011, they’ve only released “singles” in a-side/b-side format. While they do have a large repertoire of originals and covers for their fun live shows, they’ve decided to focus their recording time on putting out two incredible tracks at a time, instead of rushing through 5 or even 10.
Their first 7 inch, Warminster was released in August of 2012, not too long after the band took the stage in Burlington, Ontario for the Burlington Sound of Music Festival opening up for Arkells and Born Ruffians and not long before the boys played on television in front of millions of people. But more on that later, let’s talk about the tracks from Warminster.
“One of Those Days” starts off with a catchy harmonica riff, a feel good vibe, and relateable lyrics about those days when nothing seems to be going right, and things seem to just get progressively worse. But it’s not a depressing song at all, in fact it’s uplifting because it reminds you that we all have those days when everything seems to be going wrong, and chances are things aren’t as bad as you think.
“Paper Planes” originally appeared on OGC’s demo, and is that song that you’ll be singing to yourself for weeks. This is the song that got me hooked on Of Gentlemen and Cowards. For Warminster, they added the Hamilton Children’s Choir and it just made the song that much better. The harmonies are great and mesh really well with the vibe of the song.
This is a feel good EP, even the cover art supports that. This is your sit under a tree with the sun up above in a nearly cloud-less sky hanging out with a bunch of friends, laughing and hanging out.
Little Cracks, Little Light is a much more serious and mature EP. Released this past summer, you can tell the band’s sound is changing, in leaps and bounds.
“Song For You”, which also originally appeared on the demo, got a bit of a makeover just like “Paper Planes”. As for the maturity, you can hear it not just in the lyrics and the melody but the entire tone of the song, even the pacing is different and the vocals are smoother. Immediately this EP gains my respect. This song is beautiful and romantic, without being overly cheesy.
“The Grey” is different than almost all of OGC’s repertoire. It’s the only song who’s title isn’t mentioned in the lyrics. The content of the song is a social commentary. It’s heavier, it’s edgy and definitely more on the rock side than the pop side. This is a band who have now been together almost three years, they’re challenging each other, they’re comfortable and they’re ready for the world.
Okay, so I mentioned earlier that OGC performed in front of millions of people. Well they did…on television. Over the summer of 2012, they submitted their song “Save Me” to be a part of a movie called “We Made This Movie” which was made by David Letterman’s production company. From what I understand, there were four scenes they could submit their song to, 4 bands were ultimately chosen, including OGC. All 4 bands that were chosen as well as the 20 runner’s up were then put in a “fan voting” contest held by Redbull Soundstage where the winner would perform on the Late Show with David Letterman. Of Gentlemen and Cowards were one of 4 Canadian bands. The contest ran two weeks, and for the first week they sat in the top spot, un-challenged, and in the second week they flip-flopped between first and second place. Not only did McMaster University, where all 4 members attended school at the time, put their entire support behind them, but it seemed like the entire city of Hamilton threw their support behind this young band, and it paid off. In September of 2012, they ditched class for a few days to go to New York City and perform in front of David Letterman and the millions of viewers watching all over North America.
You can watch their performance of “Save Me”, below:
As we near the end of 2013, I can say with confidence. This is a band to watch for in 2014.
On a personal note, for those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been, and why I haven’t been writing recently. I’m still here, working mainly behind the scenes. School has put a bit of a kink in my writing. But we’ve got some cool things coming in the next month or so, so stay tuned to The Indie Blender. – Marc