A Big Bad Beautiful Noise
February 10, 2017
Once again, the Godfathers have swapped making concrete shoes for rock n’ roll. A Big Bad Beautiful Noise is their latest record, out in February 2017, and it kicks off in style. Its punchy title-track promises an aggressive Grinderman-meets-Stooges affair.
The guitars feedback. The drums punch. The singer growls with Iggy-infused menace. The rest of the album, however, veers more towards 90s inflected pop rock. ‘You Don’t Love Me’ is a real fine exercise in power pop that harks back to the band’s original 1980s roots. It also presents a softer, more polished sound than the first track suggests, leaning towards the sound of the Smiths than the Nerves.
Yet, there’s some genuine guilty pleasure to be had from the Godfather’s sonic Americana, especially on tracks like ‘One Good Reason,’ think a lighter Dinosaur Jr., or ‘She’s Mine,’ Tom Petty’s ‘Breakdown’ goes to the swamp.
Tracks like ‘Feedbacking’ fall a little flat, as I’d personally rather listen to four minutes and 38 seconds of actual guitar feedback than hear someone yell about it. But when they stick to their guns the band really cooks. Indeed, in their best moments they evoke visions of tearing down a Los Angeles freeway with the top down and a Budweiser in hand.
Jangly-pop licks, the occasional slide guitar and big choruses aren’t the kind of thing you hear much on the rock n’ roll scene these days. Most bands are too self conscious to dare touch a pop sound this big. For this, I salute the Godfathers.
Yet, this is also the problem with this record. In these troubled times, when killer lo-fi cuts reign supreme, all this production comes off as a little irrelevant. Their slightly earnest, hook-laden oeuvre seems more suitable to an older, more carefree time.
In the end the Godfather’s lack the cynical, hate-filled contempt for the world that I crave of my rock n’ roll, but that doesn’t make this a bad record. Hell this would be perfect driving music. I just can’t picture myself breaking shit and smoking drugs under a bridge to it.
Catch the Godfathers on tour:
February 9 – Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough
February 10 – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham (with special guests the Hip Priests)
February 11 – O2 Academy Islington, London (with special guests the Membranes)
February 16 – Cluny 2, Newcastle
February 17 – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
February 18 – Trades Club, Hebden Bridge