You Know the Rules
What do you get when you graft the cuttings from such bountiful shrubs as Maow, Superconductor, Vancouver Nights, The Tennessee Twin, Kreviss, and others? You get The Gay, a five-piece co-ed fun-pop outfit high on harmonies and bliss; a uniquely inventive concept when you consider the band features an accordion! Produced and recorded by the New Pornographers’ Kurt Dahle, The Gay’s Mint debut album You Know the Rules is summer and sunshine pop turned inside out that leaves an unshakeable body shuffle that lasts well past the listen, hearkening back to the golden era of supergroups such as Fleetwood Mac, Sparks (& Beachwood Sparks!), Heart, and the Partridge Family.
While New Pornos focus on the honor society of bombastic pop like XTC, Buzzcocks, Cheap Trick, etc., the Gay prefers obscure extracurricular quirkiness like chess club presidents, the Feelies, Look Blue Go Purple, Martha & the Muffins, the Left Banke, and the Ladybug Transistor. From the first guitar loop and Debbie Harry-ish vocals of "Opulent Canine" a queer ditty about the feline forays of one paramour pup, the Gay establishes its underdog status. - Kate X Messer, Austin Chronicle
The Gay manage to forge an original sound that, while not emphasizing variety or stylistic exploration, has enough personality and flair to separate them from the glut of hum-along guitar-driven pop outfits. You Know the Rules may not yet have achieved the indie megahit status of the last two New Pornographers albums, but given enough exposure, it certain could. There is no word yet, however, on whether or not the band members are, in fact, actually gay. - Michael Cramer, Dusted
... the vocal harmonies are well done, with the entire band contributing at times. "Opulent Canine" is the album's most memorable track, buoyed by that darn accordion (whaddya know, the gimmick kind of works), an endearingly clunky guitar lick, and a soaring chorus that would make Carl Newman proud. "Critics" continues in that same New Pornographers/Zumpano mold, but is more understated and sweet, especially when they sing gently, "If the critics are so wrong, why do you have to be so tough?" The plaintive, wispy, twee pop of "Cindy Lou" is another standout, in which the band namechecks rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson, while "Fishin' Jim" has Maija Martin's accordion adding a playful Cajun flair to an already cute song. - Adrien Begrand, PopMatters
Their debut record, You Know the Rules, is one indie pop high after another... essential for lovers of the New Pornographers and Vancouver pop. The group is right up there with Papas Fritas and Saturday Looks Good to Me, bands whose members believe in pop music and love, and have the magic power to make the listener believe in them too. - Tim Sendra, AllMusic