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Godsticks - 2013 - "The Envisage Conundrum"

(59:38, ‘Godsticks’)


1.  Convergence 1:17
2.  Caught in a Bind 5:03
3.  The Envisage Conundrum 6:44
4.  In a Way That Ended Me 4:59
5.  Benchmark 4:35
6.  Submerged 4:57
7.  A Brief Foray 4:48
8.  Disclosure 3:48
9.  Borderstomp-1 5:05
10. Borderstomp-2 5:54
11. Borderstomp-3  6:52
12. Raised Concerns 5:30


Darran Charles – vocals; guitar; keyboards
Steve Roberts – drums; keyboards
Dan Nelson – bass 

Prolusion. The UK trio GODSTICKS was formed back in 2006, initially as a cover band. They released their first EP with original material in 2008, followed by their full length debut album two years later. Come 2013, and they reappear with a new bassist in the shape of Dan Nelson, and their second album "The Envisage Conundrum". As with their previous productions this CD was self released by the band.

Analysis. The UK trio continues venturing forth into a type of music not too many others create these days, their overall expression of the kind that is easy to enjoy and fairly accessible, yet with a plethora of quirky details to uncover for the avid listener. Subtly pop music oriented perhaps, but on a superficial level only. The lead and backing vocals are the main reasons for this accessible nature. Always melodic and harmonic, carefully controlled yet powerful, and with a distinct delivery you'll have a few difficulties comparing to any other well known vocalist, I suspect. The vocals dominate through and through, as the smooth icing on top of a cake more elaborately made up than what you'd expect. Quirky instrumental motifs are something you'll discover plenty of when really listening to this album: brief, quirky circulating riff patterns alternating with gentler, light toned wandering guitar motifs and the occasional run into harder edged, compact or massive riff constructions. Their material is fairly cleverly assembled at that, utilizing gentler guitar details alongside keyboards and vocals to produce majestic, intense arrangements, while compact, harder edged riffs might be utilized in arrangements of a more stripped down and compact nature. To name but one derivation from what you'd normally uncover when taking a closer look at how a song has been constructed. And when the guitars have a less than adventurous role in the proceedings, you can be sure to find some quirky details in the bass, keyboards or drum department instead. There's always something going on beneath the surface, and frequently it is of a type that invites associations towards jazz-rock and jazz at that. Even on the occasions where the band opts for gritty, dark toned guitar riffs as the dominant instrumental expression. Smooth and melodic guitar soloing is another key feature on this album, although quirkier constellations sporting melodic riffs backed by keyboards or piano details is another nifty little detail you'll encounter here and there. But no matter how many subtle and quirky details you'll uncover; they are always a part of a total whole that has a distinct emphasis on melodies and accessible delivery. Music easy to listen to and easy to enjoy, but with plenty of ear candy to uncover for those fond of material of a more challenging variety.

Conclusion. Accessible, melodic progressive rock is what the UK trio Godsticks provides on their second album. Dominated by carefully controlled, yet powerful melodic lead and backing vocals smoothing over an instrumental backdrop that is frequently more challenging and demanding than what you suspect first time around. A fairly intricate disc all in all, but with what one might describe as a mainstream sensibility to it. A creation to check out if accessible progressive rock with jazz-rock details and a firm emphasis on melodies and harmonies sounds like something you'd enjoy listening to.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 8, 2013
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