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The introduction that explains what led me to talk about this album is somewhat lengthy and scientific at points. If you’d rather just read my thoughts on this album, just skip past the text between the lines.

As a Bachelor of Science major (more specifically, a psychology major), I make an effort to stay in touch with the most recent news and the most up-to-date scientific studies released each month, and this week, major progress was publicly announced in the harnessing of sunlight through artificial photosynthesis. I’m sure many of you are aware of the solar field located in our little town. Martin O’Malley, the former governor of this state and a current contender for the President of the United States, famously visited Emmitsburg in 2012 for its official ribbon-cutting. The solar field, the largest in the state of Maryland, provides twenty million kilowatt hours of electricity to the state each year. To put that in perspective, that is enough energy to power over 1800 homes in just our state alone.

“Jack, if we have so many solar panels in just our town, why should I be interested in artificial photosynthesis? Why should I care? What is that, anyway?”

I’ll be as brief as I can. Artificial photosynthesis is about more than just harnessing sunlight; scientists are investigating (and have found in success in) whether we can potentially produce gasoline and natural gas through the use of photoelectric cells. Here’s a quick diagram that explains it pretty well.

These solar fuels can be used to produce gasoline or natural gas, but can also be used for existing industries such as plastics or pharmaceuticals.

The reason I bring this to your attention is because, despite anyone’s personal politics, this could potentially be a pretty spruce solution to the debate on how to handle climate change. Those affiliated with the left could embrace this emerging technology as a way of reducing fossil fuel emissions, since the gasoline produced with this method lacks the carbon that would warm global temperatures. Those affiliated with the right could also be satisfied that this new development does not require anyone to make major changes to their lives (e.g. by installing solar panels on their roofs or purchasing exclusively electric vehicles), and it does not jeopardize job security (since there will never be enough artificial photosynthetic gasoline to match global demand).

I was going for my morning run on Thursday, the 10th, and a track from The Gasoline Brothers’ previous album Hm! (2006) came up on my shuffle. In light of the news article I found earlier this week, I felt this would be a great way of sharing the music of a band that’s not as famous as they ought to be.

The Gasoline Brothers is the name of a Dutch alternative rock band that formed in the early 2000s, and they have produced two albums up until this writing. Personally, I find their later release Tsk! to be a more cohesive, catchier collection of songs than their earlier effort Hm!.

The other reason I want to give this band more coverage (most of their songs on Spotify have fewer than 1000 listens, and their most popular song only has 1,377 as of this writing) is because they are a fairly accessible group with noticeable rock influences. Take, for instance, Tsk!‘s opening track Psychosomatic Heart Failure,

You’ll notice, in various places on this album, that the singing style of the band seems to adjust depending on the mood and the instrumental of the song. On this opening track, for instance, you may have heard the singer almost seem to speak some sentences in the verses, then carry long notes on the chorus. You will find such a trend on many Third Eye Blind songs, where long notes are emphasized on choruses but on the verses the lyrics are shorter and blunter:

There are two other tracks that show similarities to well-known rock bands of the past. The third track of this album, Going in Circles,

Is fairly reminiscent of Weezer’s earlier work.

And finally, for those who do not have a liking for Weezer or Third Eye Blind, The Gasoline Brothers noticeably mirror the singing style of the Beatles on Watch the Fireman,

The harmony achieved by having multiple band members sing in unison is heavily present in The Beatles’ earlier work. Here are just a few examples:

Some friends of mine who self-identify as hipsters know of bands, like The Gasoline Brothers, but choose not to share them with others. There’s a supposed beauty in having a diverse knowledge of excellent underground musical artists. Perhaps it sounds naive, but I argue that the real beauty is found in sharing the names of artists, so that the talent and value of their artwork can be appreciated by as many people as possible. It’s important to remember that the changes The Beatles were able to foster upon popular music were a result of their widespread popularity.

I happen to enjoy this album, and have for a few years. The whole album is embedded below, and the band’s website can be found here.

See you next week!