Joshua Fletcher and the Six Shot-Romance is a band that many Under the Couch goers should be familiar with, considering Fletcher is a current Tech student. Their album A Gentleman Doesn’t Kiss and Tell was recorded in May of 2006, but is still popular among their fans and many indie listeners. Their increasing popularity is proven through a rich range of tracks that explore music the way any up-and-coming band should.
The most unique feature of the young band is its refined and full sound, a trait not common among similar bands. With fast-paced songs like “Feels Like Yesterday” that keep the listener amused and never drag, listeners can enjoy sophisticated and moving bass lines that work together well.
Even slower songs keep up their energy, like “Lonesome River” and “Machines,” surrounding the listener with melodious, solemn sounds that occupy the listeners almost as if they were being performed live.
Fletcher provides the vocals and plays guitar and harmonica, and his voice is both rough and pure. It has that garage-band sound, but it is more evolved, like the sound of Bon Jovi. The rock tone in his pitch is obvious and clearly enjoyable. If anything needs improvement, it is the dynamics he uses in his voice. He is quite capable in some songs, though he seems to hold back occasionally in others, like in “Hey Alright.”
The lyrics, written by Fletcher are refreshing as well as nostalgic. They illuminate the events and experiences common in youth, romance and the general experience of adolescence. Sometimes the lyrics are hard to keep up with because of the vocals, and words are lost due to an absence of accentuation.
The Six-Shot Romance’s slower songs do well to accentuate Fletcher’s skill as a lyricist; he chooses the perfect words to ingrain into the listeners’ minds by belting out carefully chosen pieces of his well-crafted lyrics.
The guitars, provided by Fletcher and Casey Wilson, work best when both veer off in separate directions. Their slower songs have extremely beautiful solos that speak just as much as the lyrics. “Machines” is a great example of a slow song that can keep the listener awake mainly because the guitar composition is so powerful.
Though drummer Colin Dean is talented and creative, as in “Annabelle,” he tends to occasionally take the backseat rather than work in tandem with the other instruments. This makes the drums sound like a filler instrument instead of its own equal part. When the drums are played fully, they are clearly heard.
The bass in the Six Shot-Romance is by far the most explorative of the instruments. By clearly setting a consistent pace, it is easy to tune in and out of the bass line, and appreciate the sound of the bass either as a solo or as an accent in the overall sound.
Like a proper bassist, Robert Faillo never allows himself to “stick out” and throw off the sound, but he doesn’t seem to follow whatever the guitars are doing. The bass in The Six-Shot Romance is integral in its refined sound.
The best songs on A Gentleman Doesn’t Kiss and Tell are the slow songs. They grab the most attention through a dynamic in subtlety and candor, and the intensity of the songs develop quickly through this most precise orchestration.
Their songs feel closer than most other bands, even small and similarly up-and-coming bands, since the lyrics and vocals are both powerful, yet usually play an equal part as the other instruments. This equilibrium of parts allows The Six-Shot Romance to make a truly novel sound, something most new bands have difficulty doing, and results in something that sets them apart.
If The Six-Shot Romance needs to do anything, it’s to release more music. Though the nine songs are a joy to listen to, they leave the listener wanting for more. They seem to tell a story through their pace, the powerful lyrics and the specific and clever guitar solos. The story, however, seems unfinished, and perhaps another album will help resolve this cliffhanger.
Until then, their following will be kept listening to their original and brisk music; it is easily identifiable and never ubiquitous among the indie genre, which is a truly remarkable feat for such a young band.