Midlands groove monsters God Damn remain a consistently thrilling live band; a blur of limbs and hair teamed with music so skull-crushingly loud it could drown out a Boeing on take-off.
As is often the case though, translating that visceral energy from stage to record is a puzzling conundrum; with multiple days in a studio it’s easy to perfect every nuance, removing the edges that come with a leave-it-all-on-stage one-take sweat-fest that is typical of the God Damn live experience.
Fortunately, ‘Everything Ever’ isn’t sanitised or watered down, even if that studio polish is inescapable. Existing in some post-Motorhead, pre-grunge time-warp, there’s a classic sound to God Damn’s relentless aural assault, with cuts like ‘Again Again’ and ‘It Bites’ recalling Soul Asylum (in their early Twin/Tone days, rather than their chart-bothering middle-age) or Husker Dü at their savage best. While the mid-paced ‘I’ll Bury You’ and stomping ‘Failure’ come off like sludge-covered takes on any number of early noughties Britrock anthems.
And it’s in this ability to subvert and twist their sound that Thom and Ash excel. It’s perhaps easy for two-pieces to find a formula and stick rigidly to it, yet ‘Everything Ever’ is an unpredictable and exciting slice of hip-shaking garage punk. At times bleak and dirty, at others frantic and frenzied.
If there’s one complaint, a couple of the songs are just too repetitious, going from naggingly infectious to relentlessly nagging; ‘Dead To Me’ and ‘Oh No’ are the main culprits and could well test your sanity as they replay over, and over, and over, and over in your head. That said, their simplicity could make them favourites in a live setting – which brings us back to the main point. As enjoyable as ‘Everything Ever’ is – and it’s a huge amount of hair-swinging, foot-stomping fun – it’s just not as much fun as catching God Damn live. Still, in the comfort of my own home I’m the master of the volume, and that has to count for something…
’Everything Ever’ by God Damn is released on September 23rd on One Little Indian.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)