Godsticks: The Envisage Conundrum – album review
Godsticks – The Envisage Conundrum (Godsticks)
Godsticks descride themselves as ‘purveyors of progressive rock / pop’. They’ve just released their second album and Adrian Bloxham has been listening to it for Louder Than War.
This album is like being immersed in cool water. It has been lovingly crafted and polished to gleam at you. It feels like lying in the bright sunshine on a newly mown lawn. They sound very technical and very able musicians, the songs are structured around the differing guitar sounds and the voice, high and clear, not wavering but holding each note perfectly. The world of Godsticks is not straightforward; they seem to have baffled other reviewers trying to pigeon hole them. They make their own brand of what they describe as ‘progressive rock/pop, but it is very much their own take on the sound. You get the idea that this is exactly the music they have inside their heads trying to get out and if you like it they will be pleased but that’s not why they do what they do.
The record is a complete collection; it flows into itself and adds to what you feel from it with each listen. It’s not for everyone; there are no shouted choruses or manic guitar solos. Just musicians creating songs. There is a hint of the giants of prog, a splash of grunge guitar and a modicum of rock’n’roll piano, all wrapped up in this collection.
The sound is cool and fresh, the music gives you space to take in what you are listening to. It breathes in and out, balancing the rock grunge chugging guitar on the title track with the light swaggering piano on ‘Disclosure’. Much of the album is guitar based, the sound is very rock and quite heavy but Darran’s vocal pulls it away from metal or grunge even when the guitars are distorted and hard. The vocal makes the whole sound different, it is pitched higher than most records I hear, it is relaxed and calm. It feels like another strange instrument and when the lyrics are sad and lost the vocal reflects this coolly ‘you got me in sorrow please forgive me this time.. .’
The ‘Borderstomp’ trilogy that makes up the bulk of the end of the album is three songs using the chugging guitar I have mentioned before to build and then break down into quietness and repeat over and over until it fades down into quiet.
If you have an affinity to all things Proggy then this will both delight and surprise you. It really is out on its own. Not for all, but does deserve to be heard.
All words by Adrian Bloxham. More work by Adrian on Louder Than War can be found here.