Godstopper have one of the most unique styles I’ve heard for quite a while.
What Matters is their first album. It’s shocking, bizarre, twisted, and amazing. They have a singular approach to their music, and though I can think of a few ballpark comparisons, none of them really come all that close.
Somewhere in the middle of noise rock, sludge, and doom, and scattered with a handful of brief forays into industrial metal, What Matters is a glorious Frankenstein’s monster, lurching forwards with a staggering pace. It’s sort of like Nirvana. A little bit like Eyehategod. But it also has a pop sensibility, heard in its catchy choruses – you’ll find yourself unconsciously singing along to them before too long.
The lyrics are often delivered in an idiosyncratic slur, sounding like the offspring of hardcore punk shouts and grunge moaning. However, Godstopper also have both male and female singers, giving a wide range of vocals to choose from, and this variety produces some of their best songs on the album. It’s comparable to the Pixies’ blend of vocalists, but sharpened up for this decade.
The final track, This is What Matters, is probably the best demonstration of this, though is perhaps the least accessible track on the album due to its stark nature – it’s definitely best taken in as an ending piece to the album rather than a standalone track. The female vocalist takes the lead on this one, delivering haunting lyrics which have all the magical nuances of a nursery rhyme, but at the same time, seem oddly sinister.
This is augmented by the instrumentation, which alternates between dissonance and harmony, before launching into a layered production of vocal harmony. It’s an impressive and sudden wall of sound which sounds like it was orchestrated by indie group Grizzly Bear, known for their beautiful melodic work, but at the same time, the shivers on your spine won’t leave you alone.
I’m obviously struggling to explain their music in words. That’s because there aren’t words yet invented for this. But that’s alright, all you need to know is that it’s great. Here’s Clean House, rich with grunge roots (particularly the Pixies) and thick with sludge:
Marked out by an unusual stop-start rhythm, non sequitur lyrics, and haunting overtones, this track sums up what Godstopper are all about – being different, while retaining listenability. There’s something dark about every track on this album which you can never quite pin down, but that’s not dark in the sense of being heavy. There’s always something not quite tangible, something ethereal that darts into the shadows as soon as you turn your head to see just what it is. I don’t know how this music can be so unnerving while appealing to a pop consciousness, but it’s a stroke of genius.
Godstopper are one of those rare bands who have accumulated influences, then torn them entirely to pieces in order to put them back together to create an entirely new beast. This is a top notch album in terms of imagination, song writing and accessibility.
Defying all categorisation, What Matters is something weird, wonderful, and you’ll want to pick up a copy – it’s available from Godstopper’s Bandcamp at a ‘Name Your Price’ rate, and I’d urge everyone and anyone to go and grab it.