Anita Wills on
L.A.’s Gale Forces formed in 2014, the solo project of songwriter and Seattle ex-pat Jade Devitt, drummer for ’90s stalwarts Engine Kid. An EP and an album (2017’s “Strawberry Peak”) later, Devitt spent a couple years drumming for This White Light, like Engine Kid also led by Greg Anderson (Sun O))), Southern Lord Records).
Just before the pandemic, the winds of Gale Forces beckoned again, and Devitt was joined by bassist/producer Gabe Van Benschoten (Mossbreaker), drummer Isaac Carpenter (AWOLNATION) and guitarist Ryan Rapp. The result is “Highlights of Existence,” an album that Devitt says “channels the energy of our primary need for connection. The realization that we’re never that far apart when we sit down and raise a glass around a fire, or in the backyard. What’s at stake is the quality of our lives and the ability to problem-solve, by the better angels of our nature.”
Gale Forces’ album will connect with those who favor heavy alternative rock that lives on the edges of hardcore punk. Bursting with pummeling percussion, stinging riffs, distortion-soaked breakdowns and thick bass, the songs give Devitt’s vocals a cry-into-the-void quality, with his lyrics aspiring to a certain grandiosity as they range from doomy to hopeful. From the broodiness of “Intergalactic Whiteclaw” to the chaos of “Patroller,” “Highlights” hits hard.
||| Watch: The video for the song “Highlights of Existence”
||| Also: Stream the album in its entirety