God’s Lonely Men – Chemical Landslide (Unlatched Records)
Proving that old dogs can learn new tricks, God’s Lonely Men offer up classic punk paying homage to their past while looking to the future. LTW’s Philip Thompson takes a listen.
The clue to this bandâs pedigree is in their name. GLM, or Godâs Lonely Men to give them their full title, is lifted from the second Lurkers album of 1979 and is the name of the new musical venture of original and long-time Lurkers Pete Stride, Nigel Moore and Pete âManic Essoâ Haynes. This album, while by no means an exercise in pure nostalgia, will definitely find favour with those of us who love the old-skool Lurkers stuff.
Originally, the Lurkers perhaps shared a musical naivety with The Ramones– a penchant for big choruses and major-chord, heads-down, shout-along punk- mixed with a bit of a harder, and most definitely British, edge. GLM have taken that blueprint, extended it, refined and, crucially, made it heavier by several tons.
From the off, opening track âEvery Nightâs A Storyâ, itâs clear that the band have not lost their knack for penning an infectious tune, and the guitar, bass and drum onslaught hits like a sledgehammer which barely lets up for the next 40-odd minutes. Essoâs drums are machine guns, and Pete Strideâs guitar work nowadays most definitely leans towards the metal end of the spectrum but is none the worse for that. Nigel Mooreâs growling bass work pins the whole thing together.
The title track boasts an almost Clash-esque Mick Jones style one-note riff which neatly compliments the lyric, an almost wistful reflection on times gone by. As if to prove that heâs no one-note pony, Strideâs guitar solo then pins you to the wall and slaps you about a bit in a flurry of proto-metal fretting. There are moments of tense dynamism in the likes of âSurvivingâ, with its military-beat dropout section and punk-along chorus, and âHere Comes My Lifeâ which lulls the listener in with a Spanish guitar tinged intro before the blitzkrieg riffing kicks in.
The album has found its pace by the time âBeyond The Paleâ barrels in with Stride opining âmy haloâs on the groundâ and the repeated âCan you turn the lights down?â refrain. There is a lyrical melancholy throughout the album which Strideâs vocal delivery matches with a haunting menace. Youâre left with the impression that you donât want to meet this guy down a dark alley. âCrash Landingâ and âBad Carolineâ are serviceable rockers, perhaps more redolent of the old days, then thereâs a final repeated refrain of âChemical Landslideâ to finish off.
All in all, this is an album full of great punk guitar riffs, sing-along choruses and pile-driver instrumentation. I ainât got a clue (sorry, couldnât resist) what the score is between GLM and the current incarnation of the Lurkers but, on the strength of this outing, itâs clearly legitimate that they should strive to break out of the confines of the past and create something modern, whilst still retaining respect for their legacy.
This apocalyptic maelstrom of an album achieves that admirably. A soundtrack to the end of the world and beyond.
All words by Philip Thompson. More writing by Philip on Louder Than War can be found here. You can follow Philip on twitter at https://twitter.com/philestein54 and check out his band Bug at their website www.bugpunk.co.uk.