No Wait Wait

No Wait Wait

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

While talking to Marc Gartman of No Wait Wait about his new self-titled CD I told him that it sounded very different. He said, “isn’t that what guys say to girls they are trying to let down easy?”

That was the first word to pop into my head, and I had called him to understand more about what I was listening to. This album was artistic and experimental with influences and musicians appearing in various roles throughout. A melting pot of rock that became, well….. Something different.

No Wait Wait utilizes Eric Pollard (Drums) and Russ Sackett (Keys), both formerly of The Dukes of Hubbard. Trying to keep track of who played on what song on the album was difficult. However, one fixture was Alan Sparhawk of Low who laid down solos throughout in a weird tuning. Marc told me that on some of the numbers there were three different tunings, which must have been tough in it’s own right to fit with vocally.

Marc Gartman is from Manhattan and moved to Duluth last summer. In 2003 he recorded an album with country crooner Paul Oldham for his band Pale Horse and Rider’s. He has opened for Sparhawk’s Low in the past and recorded under their Chairkickers’ Union Music label. He likes Duluth though and says it’s much more relaxing than the pace of New York. When he came to Minnesota he wanted to make a rock album and was impressed by Russ and Eric. Unlike the Dukes though, Marc is more of a perfectionist and wants a precise record. Rather than jamming, everything is composed and practiced for a well rehearsed sound.

This album was a second attempt for Marc at Sacred Heart Studio. The previous became an album laced with the likes of french horns and other orchestral accompaniments. He decided to make a new album that was more rock and wrote each song with various bands in mind. When the disk opens with “Faith and Words” the first thought was that it sounded a bit like Weezer. Marc told me that was exactly what he was going for when he wrote it. But I had to ask why it felt like he was singing within a limited range of notes. He said, “Yeah, I don’t have a good singing voice, and they were trying to get me to go outside of my comfort zone.”

On “Beaches Of The World” a 1980s British sound emerges with a spacey organ in the back. Marc sings, “Jocks just make you laugh, geeks just do your math.”. It’s loose, and where the music lacks the lyrics pick up the slack. When you get to “The Score” the CD has a more modern feel and appeal. It also has a trippy organ and a great beat. The singing hits the note on this song and has some Cars influence that can be heard. The next song, “Roses” has an entirely different feeling and tone. It’s catchy at the bridge and sounded almost Beatlesesque. Marc said, “That is exactly what I was going for, I had been listening to the Beatles at the time and picked that part up from them.” Marc sings, “Nothin’s comin’ up roses for the modern day Moses. No one speaks to the chosen - his lips are frozen.”

Another song that had appeal was “Love’s Lost Cause”. It started out creepy, digging up a Nirvana sounding guitar played slowly over a Moody Blues singing tone. Then it speeds up and introduces a Coldplay like feeling harmonizing over a nice beat. “Throwing Stones” continues through that beat with almost Oasis like sounds, but more like 2000 Brit pop. It’s catchy and has a militaristic drum roll colliding with dark guitar chords. Occasionally a maraca or a tambourine shake away the demons and make for a great tune.

The only downfall of the album is that there are so many musicians contributing in various styles that there are times it works and times it doesn’t. Being that Marc was more of a folky in the past this album was an experiment, like Dylan once did. When I asked what he writes about he said it was relationships and I could hear his young child in the background. It made me think of “The Score” and when he sings, “Fever’s ragin’ and the baby’s cryin’. Why don’t you give her what she’s askin’ for darlin’…. Down on bended knee.”

On July 1st No Wait Wait open for Sparhawk’s new band Retribution Gospel Choir (If you haven’t heard Low is on Hiatus..) at Pizza Luce. They are becoming more of a fluid band and plan to go back into the studio over the summer and make another album. Marc’s a solid songwriter, and it can only go up from here. Duluth will embrace his sound and mixing with Ex-Dukeys Russ and Eric should produce some great tunes.