If you’ve been following GSC for a while now you’ll know I love good merch as much as I love good music, and I knew I was going to be a Cliffdiver fan for life when I got their package in the mail earlier this year. For starters they sent a statue of Wind Waker Link to protect my merch on its journey, going above and beyond the normal shipping insurance protocols. Their clever Carhartt flip on the shorts was next level, people legit think they are Carhartt shorts and are shocked and impressed when I tell them they’re from an emo band from Oklahoma. Similarly their sweatshirt is the lightest shade of grey imaginable, the kind that we haven’t seen regularly since the 90’s. It’s one of the comfiest sweatshirts I own and one I get compliments on every time I wear it, something about the red gas canister on the white-grey really catches the eye. People say that the sign of a good brand is one you can wear head to toe without looking silly, and I can confirm that Cliffdiver’s merch is one of those rarified brands you can wear head to toe. Hell I am doing it as I write this review.
The band is unsurprisingly sold out of everything except one last pair of shorts, but luckily in the meantime Cliffdiver has provided a tasty new single to chew on till they have the opportunity to restock, fresh with their Carhartt beanie as the single’s cover image. “Gas City” is a fun and funky track about making sure that your friends know how much you appreciate them. Lead singer Joey Duffy flies right in with the chorus reminding us to, “Gas up all your homies so they won’t give up, they will keep going, then they can gas up all their homies.” My mom loves to remind me to “pay it forward” doing nice things for people you care about knowing that they’ll pass it on to someone who needs it in their life, and clearly Cliffdiver’s moms have been instilling similar messages in them. New co-lead singer Briana Wright provides some gorgeous complimentary vocals late in the track that show exactly why the band seemed so excited to bring her on board. Her and Joey play off each other like George Michael and Aretha Franklin on “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” as the two already have some clear chemistry despite, or more likely because of, how different their voices are. Here’s to hoping she sees an even more prominent role in the other songs the band has planned for their upcoming album. On an unrelated note, me and my buddy Pete have a long-standing theory that 100% of music is better with a lil horn section, and Cliffdiver seem to be of that same school of thought, closing out the track with a smooth sax solo. It’s a dynamic that gives the band so many sonic options going forward and that sets them apart from the pack.
“Gas City” would be a perfect introduction to Cliffdiver for a new fan because it has a little bit of everything they do so well: Dynamic multi-part songs, twinkly guitars, funky sax, and empowering lyrics. Their music is fun and infectious, “Gas City” will have you bopping your head as you text your friends about how much you love em. I meanwhile will be texting my friends how much I love Cliffdiver to pass the time till they drop more music.