The new single from imaginative Kent four-piece, GoodBooks, begins with a mechanical whir that could possibly be the sound of JP Duncan's arcane keyboard being brought to life. Alternatively, it may be some equally mysterious piece of medical equipment coming to the aid of the unnamed sufferer from the titular 'illness'. Similarly, the track ends with what may be the death throes of the same keyboard, or perhaps the unfortunate patient. The sound, akin to a fading life support machine, will be familiar to any keen viewer of hospital-based drama.
However, these brushes with mortality aside, this track is anything but dead in the water - everything in-between being extremely lively indeed. Within seconds the mechanical hum is superseded by a frenetic battle between stabbing guitars and cowbell-heavy percussion. (The jury is still out as to who actually won.) The lyrics - delivered with typical fragility by Max Cooke - are slightly impenetrable (although there's every reason to suspect that they've something to do with 'illness'... it's just a hunch, you know.) Meanwhile the aforementioned keyboard provides just as much twiddle, noodle and obtuse counterpoint as it has done in the band's previous releases. So whilst the narrative may require a few more listens to fathom, it's a good job that this is a tune which will happily endure many repeated listens.
Of slight disappointment is the fact that the track (on the promotional disc, at least) is merely accompanied by an 'instrumental version'. I thought this mediaeval practice had been outlawed under the provisions of the Geneva convention, to be honest. However, I'll give the boys the benefit of the doubt on the grounds that indications point towards the 'proper' release being accompanied by three other tracks, and nary an instrumental throwaway in sight. If anyone else gets to listen to them, please let me know whether they're any good. But if the lead track is any guide to form, then they've every chance of being really rather decent indeed.