By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Ours, the quintet lead by New Jersey's Jimmy Gnecco, plays Studio A on Tuesday as a prelude to the release of the band's third album, Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy. A perfectionist known for taking his time on his albums, Gnecco spent the past three years honing the record with Rick Rubin, at the legendary producer's Laurel Canyon studio.
Since signing with DreamWorks Records in 1997, Gnecco has worked with some other equally impressive names. Steve Lillywhite (responsible for the darker U2 albums, i.e. the ones you don't like) produced Ours's 2001 sophomore album, Distorted Lullabies. The matchup was perfect: Gnecco has claimed U2 is his ideal band. It shows. The diminutive frontman dresses like Achtung!-era Bono (although he sings in a more jagged style). And for mysteriously named bandmates, a la The Edge? Gnecco's backed up by guys named Static, Locke, Race, and Pit.
Now on the Geffen/Universal label and with this third album in the wings, Ours has moved from playing infrequent, intimate shows at local haunts in New York and L.A. to touring the national club circuit. Both live and on his recordings, Gnecco appeals to the personal: His lyrics are laden with autobiographical references, and his delivery is dramatic (no surprise, considering he was an associate of the late Jeff Buckley). And Ours is defiantly Gnecco's band he writes all the words and arranges all the music.
As for his favorite musical contemporaries, on www.killtheband.com, an Ours fan site, Gnecco name checks Mogwai, God Speed You Black Emperor, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They're all bands that, like Ours, favor crunchy, textured soundscapes and a darker aesthetic. But for all the slightly dangerous rock flourishes, Gnecco seems to always come back to a pop hook. As Marcellus Wallace's wife in Pulp Fiction would say, Gnecco is an Elvis guy that likes the Beatles.