|The Godfathers - ‘A Big, Bad, Beautiful Noise’ (Godfathers Recordings)|
|Written by Martin Haslam|
|Thursday, 12 January 2017 04:30|
For me, there’s two types of album review. The one that you listen to several times, let settle in your mind, ferment and expand. And the ones that you know on first listen are a stone, cold classic that you will be playing for years to come. The latter are, naturally, rare. But, believe me, ‘A Big, Bad, Beautiful Noise’ by The Godfathers is an early contender for Album Of The Year.
Yes, I’m a huge fan. Yes, I’ve seen most of their line ups over the decades. Yes, I dared to dream that the new material could stand up to their excellent back catalogue of anthems. Previous single ‘Rewind Time/Till My Heart Stops Beating’ was a fine start, and in a live setting, the new songs sounded just right. Then, as befits the drama surrounding The Godfathers, co-founder Chris Coyne left. However, the current line-up has been touring and writing solidly for two years now, and once Birmingham face Darren Birch was in on bass duties, it all came together. So, I am pleased to also introduce Peter Coyne, guitarists Mauro Venegas and Steve Crittall and drummer Tim James: The Godfathers.
Blasting off with the title track, it’s immediately clear that they are not holding back. Like a prime slab of garage rock, brash and fuzzy around the edges, the head starts automatically nodding. Shit, this is good! Sirens, hand claps and a caveman riff. Awesome.
‘Till My Heart Stops Beating’ is a calmer offering, though still with a driving beat, which you may be familiar with already. Peter Coyne’s love song to the band; a life-long commitment. New single ‘You Don’t Love Me’ follows; a gorgeous slice of hook-laden pop, with a flavour of The Flamin’ Groovies. Yep, that’s pretty fine. Mauro’s backing vocals really give the song an added dimension, as they do throughout the album.
‘Poor Boy’s Son’ comes on heavy with a chain-gang rhythm, against some stinging blues licks. ‘One Good Reason’ has that touch of Stonesy country that’s always been part of their repertoire, slightly melancholy and reflective. ‘Miss America’ sounds like, well, The Godfathers. What more could you want? ‘Defibrillator’ is up there with ‘This Is War’ and will sound perfect live; a wall of riff, while ‘She’s Mine’ slows things down in a classy way, like a bar in New Orleans. ‘Feedbacking’ is nicked from The Stooges, complete with one-finger piano, but, when it’s done this well, you can’t complain. I just wish I’d done it first. Seedy finger-clicking and some great drumming.
‘Let’s Get Higher’ sees Peter eschew politics for more mind-expanding opportunities. Ahem. The stop/start riff is pure Godfathers and the solos are sharp. But, in some ways, the most surprising and adventurous track is the album’s end, ‘You And Me Against The World’. A lush, broad anthem, not the anger-fuelled type that you might expect from them. Rather, this evokes Bowie, ‘Your Arsenal’ era Morrissey and even Mauro’s old partners in crime, Jonny Cola And The A Grades. It is simply gorgeous, defiant and full of pomp. And all the better for it.
So, something to celebrate in 2017: The Godfathers. Still here, still relevant.
‘A Big, Bad, Beautiful Noise’ is released on Friday 10 February.
Catch The Godfathers on tour in February:
Thursday 9 - Westgarth Social Club, Middlesborough
Friday 10 - Hare And Hounds, Birmingham
Saturday 11 - 02 Academy, Islington
Thursday 16 - Cluny 2, Newcastle
Friday 17 - Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Saturday 18 - Trades Club, Hebden Bridge