By Goodluck Jonathan
The forth word on the press release for Goodluck Jonathan is 'Brighton'. For me, this has risen my expectations dramatically. Not because some defunct treatment plant has been pouring too much 'talent groove juice' into the south coast water supply but because as a city it has a stupid amount of talent per square metre for the meager public to choose from - don't trust me, get your Google out. So for a label to back a Brighton band to a point that we're getting reviews all the way up north, this has my ears pricked before I can even fumble the CD into the tray.
First track out of the gates is "Bruises Disappear", a growing repeater of a tune that feels like you're standing in a protest against control, waiting for the snap to riot. The brooding vocals of Nick Brookes speak like a man who has done his homework, and rather than shouting his discoveries he calmly explains in the dark room that a reaction is coming, adding to the maddening atmosphere. This can be attributed to the so-good-you-can-taste-it recording that they have put together. The delay ridden guitars are placed beautifully on top of the drums, vocals and bass are so well balanced you could be stood in the middle of the room covering yourself in the embellished sound. This record reeks of room tone, and is a very good start.
I've never been one for stating that "this band sound like this band", as comparison is the lowest form of analyst in my opinion- but appropriately named second track "Stranded" is just that, a song that could be a thousand different bands. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat... After hearing Nick Brooks' brilliant lo-fi spoken word on the track before, this feels like the 'radio hit' song, stripped of its dignity and thrown out onto the stage naked and frail, I decide to just listen to "Bruises.." again just to remind me of what GJ are capable of.
"Broken Heart" is the Bond song that was simply too cool for the schlick spy ponce. Single string riffs with combination snare shots are very exciting and loud crashing symbols add body to the sound.. and.. what's that... some sexy synth that pads out the low end beautifully, and just when you think they are going to finish too early, the song returns to a sparse verse where the slow spoken vocals return. The main strengths of GJ lie in their ability to switch from a swelling chorus style progression to a stripped down quiet section that will inevitably build up - which means you're now thinking post-rock, which is ok, because they make this juxtaposition without being musically patronising.
The final track on the EP is "Lights Burn My Eyes", which is a stew pot mix of all the tracks heard before. Riff plus sparse vocal plus quite delay picking, times by drummer who wants to be heard equals a sound finish to the little four tracker.
It's hard to put together sensible structured words to summarise Goodluck Jonathan when I still have the imprint of the first track burned into my ears, a song that is easily the strongest of the EP (and can be heard in a rather sinister sampler on their Myspace). So I tell you what, I'll put it into context for you. Goodluck Jonathan are a soundtrack to a movie set in a post-apocalyptic future where Danny Dyer is king and a resistance builds against him. Eventually throwing the germ off the planet and reclaiming the destroyed cities from the Nuts wielding drones. In the trailer there would be lots of shouting and powerful monologues as well as people throwing Molotov's at pictures of Dyer's face, you want a change, but you need to be pushed. Goodluck Jonathan provide the musical backdrop to that temperament.
"This Is Our Way Out" is released on the 13th September via all good virtual stores.