Local Wire

Gratitude

Perhaps Gratitude vocalist/songwriter Jonah Matranga's just sick of paying his dues. He fronted emo hopefuls Far throughout the '90s (preceding the emo explosion by a decade, it's worth noting) before doing the solo thing as onelinedrawing, a more stripped-down (and frankly better) indie vehicle. Both bands got this close to blowing up, but never did. Now Matranga's got a major-label deal with Atlantic, and with 15 years' experience under his belt, he's finally in a position to grab that brass ring. That is, if he can find the fans. Gratitude's music is unapologetically emo, packed with jet-propelled choruses as catchy as they are squeaky-clean. When Matranga sings "All right, all right" on "Drive Away," the lead single on his band's not-half-bad self-titled debut, it sounds exactly like the "All right, all right" on the chorus of Jimmy Eat World's smash hit single "The Middle" (seriously, check it out; it's kind of creepy). And so the question must be asked: Is Gratitude the latest copy-of-a-copy emo act trying to cash in, or the earnest effort of a seasoned vet?