A BIG BAD BEAUTIFUL NOISE by THE GODFATHERS – RECORD REVIEW
The first time I heard the Godfathers, I was knocking back beers at a little spot in Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, VA, around 1986 or 1987. The place was called Domino’s Doghouse. People used to stand on the tables in there and the music got played really loud. It was freaking great. I even remember the DJ that night was called “Donnie the Nightmare.” Anyway, the song that got played was “This Damn Nation” by The Godfathers. That song had a squealing guitar part and angry vocals that I will never stop loving. The next day I bought the album Hit By Hit and over the last thirty years I have purchased every record that ever came out after that. I’ve seen the Godfathers play three times, I’ve met them once and I think they are one of the best bands on the planet. After 1995, nothing was heard from the band until they released the very good Jukebox Fury in 2013, their seventh studio album. It appears that the Godfathers don’t really come to America anymore (they are a UK band), but I’m hoping their brand new record, A Big Bad Beautiful Noise, might bring them over for a tour. I’m just glad they’re making records again.
A Big Bad Beautiful Noise is 11 tracks of classic Godfathers rock n roll. Of course, the band has had line-up changes over the course of 30-plus years, but the new record is true to the original sound that blew me away that night in Richmond. In fact, Peter Coyne is the only original member at this point, but I don’t care in the least, because Peter obviously knows what the hell he’s doing and how to pick bandmates. Here’s my song-by-song record review of the eighth straight killer record from The Godfathers:
1. A Big Bad Beautiful Noise – The title track rumbles out of the gates, starting us off with a pretty noisy song. It’s arguably big and bad, but not beautiful. Disappointing start.
2. Till My Heart Stops Bleeding – This song came out well in advance of the full LP, which was released February 10th. It’s a good song. It’s not angry or overly rocking, but it chugs along pretty good. Thumbs up.
3. You Don’t Love Me – This is the first nugget on the record. I really like this one. This was released as a single on vinyl with a b-side called “Some Reaction.” The b-side smokes, so hunt that down. No idea why it was left off the album.
4. Poor Boy’s Son – This one leans to the harder rocking side, pretty good but not a total killer, which there are so many of from this band.
5. One Good Reason – This song is quiet. Maybe I would deem it ‘Godfathers Light.’ I like this one though.
6. Miss America – When Trump got elected, Peter Coyne posted on his Facebook page a simple statement: “Oh Dear America. Now you’ve gone and f**cking done it.” I think he wrote this song soon after. Nuggett number two.
7. Defibrillator – This attempts to be that angry rocking song but it misses the mark a little for me. It’s just not up to Godfathers standards.
8. She’s Mine – Here’s a bit of a departure. This is a slow song loaded with great guitar. Makes me feel like driving late at night on a lonely highway. Think Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game.’
9. Feedbacking – See ‘Defibrillator’…
10. Let’s Get Higher – See ‘Feedbacking’.
11. You and Me Against the World – This one gets back on track, and I like the sentiment of the song.
So, I’m going to say that if this were an EP with tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8, and maybe with the b-side I mentioned, ‘Some Reaction’ then you would have a very nice seven song collection. As it is, it’s a bit uneven and has some clunkers. But please understand, The Godfathers, for me, have set the bar so high that even one of their clunkers is better than your average rock song.
And this would be my list of the Godfathers studio albums, ranked in order of greatness, in my opinion:
1. Birth School Work Death
2. Unreal World
3. More Songs About Love and Hate
4. The Godfathers (aka Orange)
5. Hit By Hit
7. Jukebox Fury
8. A Big Bad Beautiful Noise
It is true that the two most recent records are last on my list, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good records. The Godfathers will remain one of my all-time favorites, along with bands like the Neighborhoods, The Outlets, Watershed, and many others… - JCE