Gas Pump Talent‘s shows have always been rough around the edges, full of personality and surprisingly engaging for being two guys on acoustic guitars. Now that the duo has set about recording its songs and making a record, the resulting album, No Place In History, is much the same. What they’ve done here is take a moment to add in some things that are not in the live show such as percussion (rather than rely on their own foot-stomping to keep time as they do when playing live), extra vocals (the backing singers toward the end of the album-closing “Revolution”) and little storytelling aids (when Austin Thompson sings “I brought my dad’s accordion to class for show and tell” in “Ruler of the Elves” you actually hear an accordion playing). All of this augments the songs at the heart of the record, music for the workaday Americans who do what they have to do to pay the bills and wait for the night’s stiff drink to leave it all behind them. The title track nails that vibe with its mix of resignation and quiet chin-up ownership of fate. Resilience is as good as gold on this album: Maybe the song’s most downtrodden song content-wise–you learn more about the downtrodding, anyway–”Ruler of the Elves,” about a boy coming to terms with not fitting in, is also its most musically upbeat, complete with handclaps and, yes, accordion. Neither Thompson nor Ty Hutchens sing with great vocal range, but they both find the middle ground between life-hardened tough guy and hear-on-his-sleeve singer-songwriter, blue-collar troubadours rather than faceless, polished pretty boys.
GPT had some excellent guidance along the way, too, with Nick Sibley along for recording engineer and Ozark Mountain Daredevil John Dillon acting as producer. It’s Sibley you hear on much of the supplemental instrumentation, filling in songs many people have come to know through the band’s weekly Thursday-night shows at Ebbets Field or the growing number of weekend gigs and local events it has played in the last two years. It all serves to soften the songs’ rough edges compared to hearing them live, but only just a little. The roughness is the charm, really, and in that regard it made it through the recording process intact.
-- Chris DeRosier, TAG Magazine