CD Review: Gusto’s got somethin’ for you in “Packin Heat”

I pride myself on being an objective critic.  This admirable characteristic of mine enables me to review metalcore bands and express to you their merits, without personally possessing the urge to run out and buy the CD for myself – just not my thing.  But, my thing is irrelevant to providing you a proper review.  Afterall, I have you in mind with every review and it’s my job – nay, it’s my duty – to assess each CD on every merit and shortcoming. It’s a daunting task, but I do it for you. You are welcome.

But, sometimes I come across a CD I instantly like, and it makes it impossible for me to remain objective.  Such is the case with Gusto’s “Packin’ Heat.” 

Gusto is a three-piece, garage punk band out of Saratoga Springs, NY that’s just making it out in the world.  In fact, Josh Robin tells UpstateMetal how they all got together, signed a contract and recorded their debut album in one short weekend this past August.  Blessed with either luck, or good karma, Gusto has overcome obstacles the same way in which one would expect with their namesake. Prior to their first show in June, their drummer canceled due to scheduling conflicts. Zach Edwards stepped in on “an hour’s notice” but was unfamiliar with the band’s sound. Regardless, Robin said he “Killed it!” and was immediately signed as their regular drummer. 

The majority of their songs are short and quick paced, with light-hearted lyrics written by Robin. A favorite of mine would be “Gettin Old,” which at a little over four-and-a-half minutes, is the longest song in this ten-song collection. With lines like “Woke this morning and my back was sore/took some drugs for the pain/from a pillcase, not from a bag/I’m getting old,” it’s made me chuckle, as I can somewhat relate.  Of the ten, “Gettin Old” is the most polished.  I’ll admit to being immediately hooked in by the introductory guitar rift from “On and On”.  It’s hard not to bob your head to the beat of this catchy tune.      

Throughout the CD, Robin’s clear vocals is backed evenly and adequately by Edwards’ drums and Jason Brown’s bass (who also double times as the band’s producer).  Which, with Robin predominately on vocals, it makes for a two-piece band! Their collective sound reminds me a little of Blink 182 or Weezer, if only to distinguish them from a different sound, like The Dead Kennedys.  Packin’ Heat is garage punk at it’s most primitive.  The sound is not over-produced in the studio.  The band is not dealing with any heavy political statements, no obscure references to Margaret Thatcher, or stances against clubbing baby seals.  Gusto gives you a fast-paced beat, with easy lyrics on light-hearted subjects.  You turn them on – preferably loud – and get yourself moving.  This is a CD I plan on buying for once. If you have any appreciation for punk, you should find room to slip this one into your collection too.

Go to for more information.

You can also buy “Packin Heat” here.

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