When you break it all down it is the poets who really influence people. You can argue about the music they piggybacked on, but the great ones only needed words to move people. Sure Dylan was a great guitar player, but he got booed off the stage when he went electric. Kerouac wrote On The Roadwith jazz music playing and a never-ending roll of paper attached to his typewriter, but his books amaze when read quietly years later. The music is the tool of inspiration while the words explain the meaning. If the two work well you have a miracle of creation, but if not, you can end up having a disaster of sound. The razor’s edge of being an artist and being a “professional” musician is a sharp one. If Dylan played like Hendrix than history would be different, so remember to thank the poets who are artists… And that is what The GODEVILS represent.
They are a group of individuals who use music to express artistic poetry. Dark like Poe, but with a plethora of music styles driving the beat; their album, Badlander, begins disarrayed. What it ends up as, is an Odyssey of songs. “Sage Creek”, the first piece, sounds like the band was getting warmed up with a disarrayed feeling. So when, “Expression Is All We Have”, arrives along next, there is a sigh of relief that comes across. “Expression” was dark too, and it had this Pulp Fiction type of sound. A snarly, train rhythm, the song was a cross between Link Wray and Dick Dale. It was without the surf feeling though, and more of a well paced, catchy ditty. Jeffrey Falla (Vocal, guitar, and Banjo) sings, “Expression is all we have” again and again while the music embraces the statement to make it really stand out.
“Simulacrum in the Bathroom” was like Johnny Cash complaining about the over-played celebrity image of Britney Spears. Jeffrey sings, “ “But what of Britney?” you ask pithily. Well, I really don’t care. She’s just an image of image showing up everywhere.” The band also consists of Hilary Johnson (Electric Bass, Bass Violin, and Piano) and Jeremy Swisher (Drums, Trumpet, and Vocal), who do an excellent job.
“Missouri Coteau” is dark folk. It also might be described as a vivid acoustic nightmare of Deliverance banjo, questioning the relevance of explorers Lewis and Clark and taxes… It was catchy.
There is an instrumental called, “Runaway Ball” that also is great. A piano stings like an updated theme from, well, the movie The Sting. Background Beatlesque effects make the listener picture the English countryside, but at the breaks there was this uncomfortable feeling of 1920s Americana. “The Great Escape” comes late, and is kind of like The White Stripes tune “Little Ghost”. A circling banjo and other effects give the song a gypsy feeling. This, and the lyrics, “Why not turn my back on the whole human race, it’s just a race designed to erase.”
“What Stinks In My Town” has jazzy drums and a rant about many corruptive elements of society. From, “Exhaust filling the streets while crowds continually beat what’s unique into defeat”, to “the quality of living is being defined by consumption, not giving.” To say that the lyrics are not what sell The GODEVILS would be a lie. But the music is artistic and sets the palette for the artist. A tightrope ride of art and poetry on a razor’s edge of music.
And the band pronounces it “Go – Devils” in case you were wondering. Watch some word play and music poetry (without their drummer) at Beaner’s this Saturday, the 14th. Also appearing will be local sage Charlie Parr with his own poetic folk. This night should be the top show in town by the sounds of it.