Review Summary: Pretty, pretty, pretty good (Larry David voice)
First things first: Godcaster aren’t really my cup of tea. Their 2020 debut LP, Long Haired Locusts
, reveals a band devoted to a dance-y brand of indie punk, wild and a little sloppy and prone to interesting flights of fancy within a given song. It’s undeniably fun, especially as a complement to what is presumed to be an exceptional live show, but also not exactly the type of music I typically turn to in my personal listening. The group’s follow-up release, 2021’s short EP Saltergasp
, doesn’t really change the equation for me either. While representing a step up (the songs are tight and the limited runtime works well), it’s another release which suggests that this just isn’t a band which strikes my fancy, at least in regards to studio recordings.
Well, why am I bothering to write this review, you might ask? It’s a fair question, as the writer indeed seems a little ambivalent about the band in question. Here’s the answer, dear reader - this is Sputnik, a site which, for all of its remarkably outdated aesthetics manages to thrive on community, and resident Godcaster enthusiast ArsMoriendi requested a staff review from me. Not all such requests are granted, but this one found me at the right time. And something unexpected happened along the way - turns out that Godcaster’s sophomore full-length is kinda my thing
The simple fact is that Godcaster
sees the group approaching their craft in a notably different way from their previous work (perhaps ironically for a self-titled release), and that these new stylings scratch the itch a bit better from my perspective (opinions may vary, of course). This transformation is evident even from the average track length, which has soared to approach six minutes from the well-under three minute mean which marked Long Haired Locusts
. But it’s more general than that as well. While you wouldn’t be wrong to ascribe previously-accurate descriptors to Godcaster
, the band’s existing vaguely-experimental punk-ish indie sound has moved in a more intense direction, indeed one that reaches the “metallic” at times.
Opener “Diamond’s Shining Face” is an immediate illustration of this new-look Godcaster. Full of strutting menace, the track eventually erupts into passionate screams which wouldn’t be out-of-place on Deftones’ Ohms
. “Vivian Heck”, meanwhile, dials back the aggression into a weird track which could be described in a multitude of ways, but I’ll suffice to allege that it represents “stoner blues”. Mid-album, there are two ten minute-plus behemoths in “Didactic Flashing Antidote” and “Draw Breath Cry Out” which stretch the band’s songwriting to unprecedented limits. Closer “Gut Sink Moan” is arguably the song on this record which adheres closest to the collective’s previous output, but even here there’s a feral edge which would be scarcely recognizable anywhere else in Godcaster’s admittedly trim discography.
I’d argue that Godcaster’s essence as a band remains the same despite their stylistic transformation on their second full-length. To expand on that, I mean they’re still an energetic group whose compositions are best designed for live consumption, and that they continue to enjoy keeping the listener on their toes by veering in unexpected directions musically. On Godcaster
, the overall sound might be much more metal
than ever before, but there’s plenty of room for sonic diversity, even including the band’s trademark quirkiness. Here, you’ll find full-throated harsh vox cohabiting with quietly trippy tracks which wouldn’t be out of place as the softer moments of a Motorpsycho record, all within a set of songs which can still be broadly characterized as oddball punk.All this is to say that, while (true to form) I don’t love everything about Godcaster
, it’s an intriguing album well worth listening to. Thanks Ars!