As the self-professed aim of Gnarsh’s music “is to make people smile, tap their foot, and scratch their heads,” it’s easy to say “Putting on Your Face” hit the mark — at least on my end. Beginning with lush guitar tones and a dreamy key-laden arpeggio, the funk-tinged vocal enthusiasm of Gnarsh’s vocals fits perfectly in the nostalgic vibe. The lyrics, initially telling of prepping for a weekend and leading into sullen disappointment, shows engaging vibes thematically and melodically, bringing visions of ’70s funk and ’80s radio-rock in addition to a contemporary charm. The enduring groove throughout is excellent, with spacey additions around the two-minute mark reminding nicely of Todd Rundgren’s spacier work.
The track’s creator, Gnarsh, is a St. Louis-based musician by the name of Glennon Williams who got his start after being gifted a classic guitar as a 5th grade birthday present. “I actually wrote this song right as I was deciding to put my first album together, so it wasn’t exactly on my mind as a potential track until fairly late in the process,” he explains. “Writing the music came pretty easily for this one, but the lyrics formed as I was coming up with the melody. I was throwing in different words and phrases while humming out the melody, and it finally came together as a fairly poppy song about loneliness and romantic failure – but from the view of a bystander. Like all the other songs on the album, I’m playing all instruments but the drums. The whole album was pieced together this way in my bedroom studio.”
Check out another excellent album cut, the haunting folk-laden ballad “Hot Green Days”, below: