Godsticks – s/t EP

Godsticks

Godsticks - s/t EP

If there is one reason why I could never give up being a music reviewer, it is that it gives me the opportunity to befriend tons of bands and help them expose their music. There is nothing as rewarding is being personally requested to review an artist’s latest output, especially when it’s as good as Godsticks’ self-titled EP. Their blend of prog rock arrangements, pop melodies and a laidback jazz vibe create a sound much fresher than you may think (since there are countless neo-prog bands these days). It’s a promising debut for sure.

This South Wales trio includes Darren Charles (guitar, vocals), Jason Marsh (bass), and Steve Roberts (drums), and like the best power trios, they pack a full and lush sound. Their brand of prog is tastefully scaled down a bit compared to most, allowing for a more commercial appeal (which is fine if you’re good at it). They avoid the symphonic quality of the most pretentious bands, instead focusing on a more humble and fun nature. Still, the musicianship is top notch without declaring “pay attention to how well we play!” The music comes before the ego.

Godsticks is full of warm melodies complemented by Charles’ deep but smooth vocals. His harmonies aren’t elaborate, but they add a thickness that only makes it more appealing. They combine the laid back style of Steely Dan with the guitar and rhythm of YES. The guitar solos in would fit Steve Howe, and the piano is reminiscent of Camel throughout the EP. They effectively include brief moments of suspenseful time changes into a mostly calm, care free atmosphere. The bass has a predominantly funk style which holds everything together in a repetition that’s never tiresome, and the drums carry perfect syncopation for the music, avoiding both boredom and extravagant virtuosity. No member outshines the other, and they play with one mind.

If there is anything to compare Godsticks to, it’s Beardfish. Both bands portray an easier going attitude when compared to, say, Spock’s Beard, Echolyn or IQ. While Godsticks are not as evolved or developed as, really, any of their more popular contemporaries, that’s ok because they’re new on the scene. They’re part of the newest generation of neo-prog, and so they’re just beginning to learn from the masters. With time they’ll develop their songwriting and become even more impressive musically, and then they’ll surely be ready to take the torch from forefathers. Godsticks is an impressive, charming EP from a trio who have a bright future ahead of them. They deserve to be signed and listened to, and anyone looking for simpler style of prog (which isn’t a negative label) would do well with Godsticks.