The Godspot’s sophomore effort – Beatroute.ca
VANCOUVER — The Music of Decline is a rambling wander through psychedelic pastures. Strung out guitar riffs melt into synth interludes that in turn, become raw, unadulterated blues. The sophomore album from Vancouver five-piece The Godspot comes after a three-year hiatus following their first album, The Dust on a Moth’s Wing in 2012.
Describing their own sound as everything from “drunken shoe gaze for cowboys” to “discordian basement rock,” The Godspot are either purposefully messing with us, or are just on a variation of illegal substances, or maybe both. “I just throw as much stuff out there as I can to confuse the audience as much as possible,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Ryan Johnston. “For a while I told everybody we were a steam punk band.”
Johnston is softly spoken with long disheveled hair. He seems more shy than overly absurd. But it’s impossible not to be mesmerized by his offbeat imagination, simultaneously at odds with his obvious introversion.
“I first heard the term ‘the Godspot’ on a late night radio station,” he says hesitantly. “This guy was basically saying that when you realize that you can die, to compensate, part of the brain called the Godspot responds with spirituality, giving you something to believe in.”
Such philosophical revelations are only to be expected from a band heavily entrenched in the acid rock sounds of the ‘60s and raised on the angry grunge era of the ‘90s. Johnston sites The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane as some of their major influences.
The album has an eclectic sound, punctuated with atmospheric, instrumental interludes and the noticeable presence of female vocalists Evelyn Cardona and Elise Cheetham, who provide a refreshing, folk-like alternative to Johnston’s whisky-and-cigarette croon. As the name suggests, there’s an air of disillusionment to The Music of Decline, well fitting with Johnston’s what-does-it-all-mean attitude. “Soul Scrubbers” tinges nostalgic images with bitterness, “I went to school, I came out indifferent. It must have worked, everyone else here is indifferent too.” While “No Heart for the Mercy Kill” conjures fires, hell, and bayonets, where insects “pluck away you from the vine and take away your humanity.” Dark indeed.
The title “The Music of Decline” is a phrase pulled from the Herman Hesse novel Steppenwolf. “In Steppenwolf he [the character] has this wolf inside of him and it’s kind of like a battle with the duality of yourself,” says Johnston. “The whole album is basically about the last five years of my life and dealing with a lot of stuff. And also the music we play is just in decline you know?”
This is an honest album. There seem to be less and less bands concerning themselves with the contradictions of existence these days, maybe it is all in decline after all. Ryan Johnston at least, has plenty of existential questions to muse over between album releases.
“Is it the music of decline? I don’t even know… What is music anymore? Do I even like music?”
The Godspot The Dust on a Moth’s Wings – In Your Speakers
The Godspot is open chord Discordian basement rock for cowboys. They swagger on stage with the confidence of a spaghetti western bandit and spit all over anyone’s expectations. “Life’s an absurdist no mare,” a beautifully incoherent rant on the sidebar of their Soundcloud proclaims. The Dust on a Moth’s Wings, released on Egregious Records, is their first EP. Drawing from lo-fi, the blues, and of course the enormous canon of the psychedelic, the Vancouver party have busted out a furious, messy, and highly enjoyable record.
Despite their bravado and shambolic appearance, The Godspot are purposeful musicians aiming for the sweet mark of apparent carelessness. Their long opening title cut is driven to it’s jam session conclusion by powerful bass handiwork and a rampage of a solo—psychedelic work influenced by the likes of Kawabata Makoto and Acid Mothers Temple. The final track, “Pretends,” is a lush and lovely experiment in background noise and a test of the sincerity of Ryan Johnston’ vocals. The rest of the record falls somewhere in the middle. The Godspot drifts between sparse manic guitar work and wobbly fullness. Johnston’ vocals are snotty but relatable. “At War in Pieces” feels like a Black Lips reinterpretation of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack shoved through a dozen layers of cross-cultural contamination. “Died in the Water (But Didn’t Drown)” manages a gloomy justification of the group’s emotive power while “Mechanical Bulls” is a self-satisfied refutation of the same. The band have labeled themselves as shoegaze, but we’re unsure how drunk you’d have to be to agree. They’re mad about something, and it’s never quite explained what, but who really needs a reason? In a world where My Chemical Romance is allowed to cover David Bowie, there’s more than enough to be mad about.
Though the record feels incoherent and self-defeating at first, progressive listens reveal subtlety and intelligence. The record is short, tight, and every track merits close attention. For an EP, and a debut one at that, The Dust on a Moth’s Wings is interesting enough to make The Godspot worth keeping an eye on. If you don’t, who knows what they might get up to. “Why sell your soul when you can lose it along the way?” the band asks. Their words echo those of Tuco in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” “Where we came from…one became a priest or a bandit. You chose your way, I chose mine.” The Godspot are Ugly indeed, and we love them for it.
1. The Dust on a Moth’s Wings
2. The Back of My Hand
3. At War In Pieces
4. Died In The Water (But Didn’t Drown)
5. Mechanical Bulls
6. Whiskey for Cigarettes
72 / 100
The Godspot’s The Dust on a Moth’s Wings is totally out there – The Georgia Straight
At the risk of creating future problems for them at the border, a job interview, or their next parole-officer visit, here’s a simple question: do the members of the Godspot do a fucking shitload of drugs? There’s a reason for asking. The band’s Twitter account contains the description “Drunken Steampunk Shoegaze for wannabe cowboys”. Hop on over to the Godspot’s Soundcloud page and you’ll get something even more, um, cheeba-flavoured, namely a rambling manifesto on what it means to lose your soul. (Sample snippet: “Life’s an absurdist no mare, we are all on the same path, and I need to give myself some sort of meaning, I can work a corporate job but if they don’t have my mind, and my heart, then at least I’m free.”)
Out there? Totally, which should give you a good idea of what to expect from The Dust on a Moth’s Wings. There’s a good case to be made that the Godspot is somewhat guilty of bending the truth on the steampunk front, as the seven-song release doesn’t exactly sound like it belongs on an iPod playlist between Abney Park and Steam Powered Giraffe. Instead, what you get is hyper-trippy psychedelic country. Imagine the 13th Floor Elevators dropping four sheets of brown acid with the Black Angels and Bob Dylan, and you’ve got a good reference point for songs like “At War in Pieces” and “The Back of My Hand”. For sheer awesome epicness, start with the title track, a six-minute paisley explosion that seems like it’s 93-percent endless guitar solo. For a welcome comedown, head to velvet-morning waltz “Mechanical Bulls”, which starts out with the lines, “I had a dream that you killed my friend/And then you shot me full of heroin.”
The subliminal message? Do whatever drugs you can get your little hands on, kids. It seems to be working out fine for the Godspot, who are probably snorting the dust of some exotic moth’s wings as we speak.
The Music of Decline – BC Musician Magazine
This is the second release by Vancouver’s The Godspot, and it’s a rather epic piece of work. With 14 tracks, a handful surpassing the six or seven minute mark, The Music Of Decline clocks in at over 70 minutes long.
Saturated in jangly guitars and rough edged harmonies The Music Of Decline feels like a long sunny drive down the Pacific Coast Highway or a mushroom induced dance party in the badlands of Death Valley. The Godspot have crafted an homage to a form of pop music that was spawned by the American folk revival movement, and which was then psychedelicized in the late sixties.
Mining similar sonic territory as bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks, Psychic Ills, The Out Crowd and many others, The Godspot delivers an album filled with edgy emotion, and yet the music is also infused with a sardonic sense of humour that rescues it from wallowing in melancholy.
The Music Of Decline walks the edge between anthemic pop and irreverent twenty-first century white boy blues. Featuring some great lead guitar work by Blake Hamilton who really captures the essence of this musical era and perfectly complements the jagged harmonies of multi-instrumentalist Ryan Johnson, Evelyn Cardona and bassist Elise Cheetham. The band is astute enough not to polish too many of their rough edges which imbue this record with some serious bite. Every song on the recording earns its place on this rather lengthy auditory excursion that climaxes with the nine minute plus title track, which comes off like a long hallucinatory walk across a hazy, torrid and desolate landscape. It’s a record definitely worth your aural investment.
Dust on a moth’s wings – New Canadian Music
The Godspot’s album is full of acid folk meets shoegaze meets lo-fi alternative hooks; as you listen through it you may feel like your eyes are shut even though they aren’t. As a writer, this is the type of music that complements the lifestyle. As a listener, this is the music you put on late at night and early in the morning just to have some zone out moments. Very original and moving music.
Also, you got to enjoy a band that cites “Being fat and playing the blues” as their personal interests on Facebook.
5 On the Fly – Ride the Tempo
OK, this one really has no business being here because it’s a real stretch to call it psych rock. However, it does have at least one foot planted in that pre-metal period in rock history. Furthermore, it definitely has a stoner attitude, even though it may not be of the head-tripping variety. So here it is.
The record is a real mish-mash of styles, which is a large part of its mischievous charm. This Vancouver band would no doubt argue that they are not being irreverent regarding the various genres of music they try on, but they are certainly impish, almost to the point of being audacious. Singer Ryan Johnston romps through everything from garage rock and British pop to faux country and folk rock. Although he usually sounds like the guy from The Kingsman, he also has an alarming knack of sounding a lot like Mick Jones (“Trad Cool (Surf Dogs)”), Peter Murphy (“No Heart for the Mercy Kill”) and Greg Keelor (“Bohemian Groove”).
The band is loose and they take on the music with a garage/punk attitude, and yet there is a mark of professionalism on everything they do. The problem is that you can never take them seriously. Even on “The Music of Decline”, which is dripping with country/blues rock sincerity, you can’t help but think they have a collective smirk on their face. But, what the hell. Their energy and playfulness is infectious. This is a fun record.
Loop @ Biltmore Cabaret – May 14th 2014 – Concert Addicts
Playing support for the evening were The Godspot, a foursome of Vancouver locals playing throw-back 60s revival style rock along the lines of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Meandering through some moderately paced rock tunes, The Godspot had a few numbers that fired up towards the end of their set as the band locked into a groove.