When, back in November, we reviewed Godzukey’s last single ‘Alibi’, we said that Portland, Oregon, might have just spawned a new baby monster. On the basis of ‘The Wrath To Come’, that monster’s now hitting the angry teenage years, slamming its bedroom door, and refusing to come out except for snacks and video games.
Written about deceitful friends and still peppered with beautifully tasteful harmonics and bluesy shredding from guitar noisenik Conrad Bylsma, ‘The Wrath To Come’ is a glorious, grungy, doomy, melodic, stomp through sludgy stoner-rock (that’s a thing) in an old-school lazy vocal and fuzzed-up guitars kind of way. There’s large elements of some absolute classics in here – Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, with a definite nod to the Foos, Nirvana, and J Mascis/Dinosaur Jr. especially around the laconic vocal delivery and effects.
‘The Wrath To Come’ is the 8th track from Godzukey’s demo mini-album ‘Lake Mammalian’, and a precursor to their debut online gig ‘Bridge City Sessions: Godzukey’, which can be viewed via YouTube and Facebook on March 2nd this year.
Kicking off with a beautifully overdriven, edge-of-break-up Tube Screamer-esque guitar tone and kicking drums, Godzukey’s ‘Alibi’ is a proper old-school grungy rock track, all laconic vocals and doomy, portentous bass and guitars. There’s an occasional hint at Mudhoney in the voicing of the fuzzed-up repeating guitar motif, some gentle nods to early Pearl Jam or Mother Love Bone, and a serious bit of guitar-hero shredding from Conrad Bylsma on the playout solo from around 3’30”. Singer/songwriter Jonas Briggs has a perfect early Foo Fighters/Nirvana/Alice In Chains vibe going on around the vocal delivery, but it should be said loudly and clearly: this isn’t simply a retro-reworking of Seattle’s great and good.
There’s a freshness here, too, a contemporary take on that West Coast sound which presumably comes from the creative kick of new connections and neoteric projects. Briggs and Bylsma reconnected to form Godzukey recently, after years of not playing together, recording the EP from which ‘Alibi’ is taken from the ‘music Briggs was carrying around in his head’, and that novel vibrancy comes through in the rawness of the track’s delivery. In Godzukey Portland, Oregon, might just have spawned a new baby monster.