Review Summary: What you're hearing is exactly what it is.
Brant Bjork has been steadily dropping groovy stoner rock for some years now. Whether they were harder and punchier or more laidback and acoustic like 'Tres Dias' and 'Local Angel', he developed his own signature style with his instant recognizable voice and always putting groove in front of everything. The latest offering is 'Gods & Goddesses', a really great, immediate record. There's nothing fussy here and to quote the opening track, "Dirty Bird", "what you're hearing is exactly what it is".
A lot of the music here is heavily indebted in 70s blues rock with nice contemporary touches. 'Gods & Goddesses' reminds of ZZ Top and Hendrix bluesy, occasionally boogie rhythms and solos, but also Black Sabbath-like and Kyuss riffing . The songs don't have a complicated structure, however the execution is flawless and the whole thing just flows naturally. As always, Brant sounds so comfortable and laidback and seems to just have fun, never taking himself too seriously which adds a lot to the final result. Also, his rather powerful voice and typical Southern accent is crucial to adding that desert rock atmosphere to 'Gods & Goddesses'.
Being only 8 tracks long and each one growing in a different direction, it's hard to just pick one favorite. Still, there are a few tracks that stand out from the first listen. One example is "Radio Mecca" with its cool bass line and great guitar licks, creating that relaxed atmosphere Bjork craves for. The straight forward song structure and vocals remind ZZ Top and their early work. The same goes with "Blowin' Up Shop" which could've easily find its way on Tres Hombres or Fandango.
The tight, hard driving "The Future Punk (We Got It)" is another definite high point. Sabbath influences are all over this track and Brant's prophetic voice stands out as one of his best performances yet. With all the organic feel, the entirely new band, which now features Billy Cordell (ex-bassist of Yawning Man), never let loose except for "Little World", where the looping rhythm section just provide a solid foundation for Brant to let loose and drown the listener in wah solos. The last minutes of "Somewhere, Some Woman" stray from the overall sound of the album, ending the album with a harder, sludgier edge that's not characteristic to Brant Bjork.
One major drawback is the short length of 'Gods & Goddesses' at only 32 minutes. It doesn't fully satisfy and leaves you wanting more. That's one recurring flaw of Brant Bjork's albums. Still, overall it's a great addition to his ever evolving discography and none of the songs should be skipped.