This The Gods Themselves article was written by Owen Keane, a GIGsoup contributor
This strikingly unsettled 11 track LP cunningly combines unlikely influences of old and new, creating a tense, suspended ambiance that is hard to not be drawn into out of intrigue. The Seattle based outfit have conjured up a very cohesive album here which is worthy of considerable acclaim. Spacious, yet far from sparse, many tracks host a rather haunting vibration, with celestial sounds, befitting of the band’s name which is taken from a 1972 Sci-Fi novel. The combination of female and male vocals, often with heavy reverb, truly adds to the contrasting sounds throughout this piece.
By no means monotonous, yet consistent, each song is loyal to the band’s sound. Sounding somewhat like an American interpretation of Wolf Alice, The Gods Themselves seemingly also take no small amount of influence from Jimi Hendrix himself, with the ‘wah-wah’ and tremolo effect being used openhandedly throughout, particularly in the introduction to the song ‘Pink Champagne’, which is reminiscent to the infamous opening few seconds of ‘Voodoo Chile’. However there could be a case to say that the two aforementioned effects are used too generously, leading to a lack of variety, as some tracks would certainly benefit from a clearer, more grounded guitar parts.
Rebellion is a theme toyed with occasionally, most prominently in the track ‘Love and Television’, which seems to depict the brainwashing approach of the omnipresent modern media. The bass tone itself is a thundering, dissident one which sounds like something straight out of a Stranglers tune, adding an ample amount of testosterone and a commanding drive to the LP, without which it would lack a sense of direction. Conversely there were a couple of tracks which did require a degree of purpose, that didn’t really seem to have a destination. Namely; the final song on the album “Bubble-gum”, which was evocative of the sort of chant-like verse young schoolgirls might sing whilst their friend jumped over a skipping rope (“Luke and Sarah sitting in a tree”…you get the idea). A far more electronic, synth-orientated song than the rest, with a modern New York hip-hop twinge to it, it requires more maturity to feel like it belongs with the rest of the album.
The prize for most idiosyncratic track on the album has to go to the bands bizarre yet brilliant cover of ‘You’re The One That I Want’, from the classic film ‘Grease’. Dramatic, slowed and with an unswerving tribal drumbeat, this eerie, stripped-down number gives a sombre perspective on a once energetic song in the most appropriate way possible. Occasional chords from the authoritative guitar ensure that the track has plenty of space to breathe, allowing the long, withdrawn intervals to do the majority of the talking.
Undeniably The Gods Themselves have created a sound that does not need to be exceedingly complicated musically. Nor does it need to be brimming to the top with all manner of eccentric sounds. But what they do have in abundance is a sense of when and where. A sense of proportion. A sense of quantity, so often over looked by bands in their quest to reach the promised lands of a new, distinguishable sound.