Friday, February 19, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 173: The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death

By: March

Album - Birth, School, Work, Death
Artist - The Godfathers
Key Players- George Mazur - Drums, percussion, vocals. Mike Gibson - guitar and vocals. Kris Dollimore - guitar and vocals. Chris Coyne - Bass and vocals. Peter Coyne - lead vocals
Produced By - Vic Malie

Release Date - January 11, 1988

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I have to admit this was not my first pick the bands records to go back to listen to in full. I had in mind another record of theirs, but I can't seem to find it at the moment. So, in keeping with the same band I decided to go with this. It has been ages since this got the old "front to back".

Overview - The band formed in 1985 after the prior band that brothers Chris and Peter Coyne had disbanded. Considered a little ahead of their time the band blended a slight bit of pop music with a heavier alternative/college radio vibe. The band would go on to release a few studio records and tour extensively, creating a reputation as one of the finer live bands on the circuit. The Hull, England based band would dissolve in 1994, but reform 10 years later.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opener is the title track and "Birth, School, Work, Death" wastes little time hooking you in with the pounding drums and swooping bass line. The guitars cut over the verses with long chords while a second does a short run. Peter Coyne has a great enunciation to his voice and he pushes the urgency of the track. It is a great opening track for a bands major label debut. "If I Only Had the Time" continues the album at a steady clip and on this the backing vocals are more "harmonic" than chanting of the prior tune. The bass and drums are prevalent in the mix which is nice. Percussive instruments also stand out at various points. A good, quick guitar solo brings it all back around to the verses. The opening of "Tell me Why" feels odd, slower and less aggressive, but that doesn't last long. Before you know it the guitars are pushing and following the torrid back beat of drums. At the chorus the the backing vocals are almost playful with the aggressive clip of the song. The drums really hit hard and are the focus of the track musically since the guitars seem to fill a secondary role. "It's So Hard" has a more "Celtic" feel to it at the outset. The laid back track (hardly mellow for this record thus far). Peter seems to be in his element, not pushing so hard he sounds really strong and well balanced. The band is not on its torrid pace, but still the drums have a steady whack to them. The buzzy bass opens up "When I Am Coming Down" and the ride cymbal gets a long roll before the guitars come in and play off one another. For the first time on the record the band seems to tinker with vocal effects and longer delay/flange effects on the guitar. The result is a swirl of vocals and guitar around your head when you listen via headphones, you almost become disoriented for a moment. There is also a spoken word section over the music later in the track before it all comes back. The crazy effects return later in the track, and its even more aggressive, but it adds a very cool fresh sound to the tune. A lone guitar starts off "Cause I Said So" and it is slow to build as s second guitar gets more frantic building up with the bass and drums. By the time the vocals come in we are locked in to a 4/4 rocker of a number. The backing vocals on the chorus are practically shouted to match the lead vocal portion. "The Strangest Boy" has a unique intro with a slow build and almost like a didgeridoo but not quite. I am not sure what it is, or how they did it, but it swirls up and the song takes off. The track falls in to a steady groove and the vocal harmonies at the chorus are falsetto in their delivery but they get macho with chants of "Hey!" from time to time. The band uses the delay/phase again as the track fades out. I wonder if they had to meet a quota on the gear to do this. Its neat, but seems overdone at the same time. "S.T.B" is a straight to form rock tune. Driving bass and drums with the guitars dropping their choppy buzz over with short riffs to keep the song on a steady clip. " Just Like You" seems to follow suit of the prior track but really only from a musical stand point. Lyrically it has more of a light feel to it, with the band not as "boisterous" as some of the other tracks. Again, its nice to see the band spread its wings some and take a chance. "Obsession" has an odd intro with some screaming and moaning (non sexual) before the machine gun rap of the drums begins. Mazur holds the beat firm as the guitars fill in some voids, but until the chorus' the band doesn't get too wild. They all seem to find their place and stick with it, but the drums get a steady workout. The album wraps up with "Love Is Dead" a quick song that sorta goes out with a dud. Its not that it is a bad tune, it just doesn't leave you wanting "one more song".

Where are they now? - Disbanded in 1994 the band would re-form in 2004 and remain active. According to the bands official site they reunited the original line up to reissue an expanded version of their debut album "Hit by Hit" in 2008. Checking the bands web site they are currently active as a touring outfit.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take - The lead off single aside if you asked me to name me another song from this record I probably couldn't have done so, and even two weeks from now I am not sure I could. The one part I did take from this is I can see how the band is regarded a strong live band. All the tracks on this disc have a great live vibe to them. I can imagine a frantic audience happily bouncing along and waving fists in the air, just not sure they'd know the lyrics. It is not a slag to the band at all, as the tunes do pack a wallop but perhaps they were just ahead of the curve years ago and sort of suffer that fate...for better or worse. They have piqued my interest in not only finding my missing cd, but checking out some of their other albums.

The band has an official site here as well as a myspace pagehere.

Thanks for reading, hoping to post mp3 samples again soon.


Post a Comment

<< Home