Goatboy—Dook of Oil EP (2003)

Goatboy—Dook of Oil EP (2003)

Goatboy—Dook of Oil EP (2003)

Details

All songs mixed, produced and engineered by Greg Haver at Loco Studios. Pro-tools/assist. engineer Loz Williams. “Lullaby for Abigail” engineered and produced by Goatboy/S. Cullen at Mighty Atom Studios, Swansea. All songs written by Goatboy. Released on Mighty Atom Records, 2003.

Wikipedia

Band

  • Nik Jenkins—Vox, guitars
  • Neil Rowling—Bass
  • Rod Thomas—Drums

Tracks

  1. John Lee said
  2. 2nd hand chocolate
  3. Aretha
  4. Nitro
  5. Portion No 10
  6. Cannonballer dreaming
  7. Lullaby for Abigail

Review

According to Wikipedia Goatboy were “an eclectic rock band blending blues, hip-hop, drum n’ bass and stoner rock” and were formed in Swansea in south Wales in 1999. While there are certainly elements of stoner rock, other than the final track on this the band’s second and final release, most of the music is simply too energetic and frantic to be classed as true stoner rock.

The opening track “John Lee said” puts me very much in mind of the Queens of the Stone Age track “Feel good hit of the summer” from Rated R (2001). On more than one listen I found myself singing “Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol” along to the track. While I didn’t hugely enjoy the track it does end with a rather satisfying interrupted cadence at the end.

The EP generally has a loose feel to it. The guitars have that loose stoner vibe, that guitar-plugged-directly-into-a-mildly-overdriven-amp sound. At times the EP sounds not much more than a demo but it certainly demonstrates the bands skill. There’s a tightness to their loose vibe!

One genuine criticism, however, is that a few of the songs do sound surprisingly similar. “Aretha” and “Nitro”, for example, could very much be two parts of the same song. Perhaps this is what prog sounds like when it’s broken down into its constituent parts.

“Portion No 10” differs in that it sounds like the band were visited by the Spin Doctors/Jamiroquai fairy. There are also elements of Helmet, and you can hear what sound like influences from Faith No More’s Mike Patton in the penultimate song “Cannonball dreaming”.

The final song “Lulliby for Abigail” is the only truly laid back song, and at 8′ 15″ it’s also the longest by almost five minutes. It’s quite a rambling at times, almost psychedelic piece. I wonder what the inspiration for it was, it’s quite, quite different to the rest of the album. It’s almost my favourite piece of the seven.

Conclusion

All in all this isn’t a bad EP (a sentence that starts like that is never going to end well, is it?) but it doesn’t really connect with me. I grew to appreciate the songs a bit more each time I listened to them and became familiar with them but… well, that’s about as far as it got: appreciation. Sadly it wasn’t quite enough.

Review score: 49%

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Suns of Thunder—Gimme Some More EP

Suns of Thunder—Gimme Some More EP (2007)

Suns of Thunder—Gimme Some More EP (2007)

Details

Recorded live in Notting Pill Studios, Newport, 6—7 February 2007. Additional engineering, mixed and mastered by Ben Williams and Suns of Thunder. Produced by Suns of Thunder. Lyrics by Greg Bombroffe. All songs written and recorded by Suns of Thunder.

Band

  • Sam Loring—Drums and percussion
  • Adam Howell—Guitars, sonic obliteration, backing vocals on “McLarens Holy Ghost”
  • Greg Bonbroffe—Guitars, vocals, acoustic overdubs
  • Ben Williams—Organs, effects, sax offender and mandolin overdubs, backing vocals on “A funeral for a trend”
  • Chris James—Bass guitar

Tracks

  1. Gimme some more
  2. The curse of the mothertruckers
  3. A funeral for a trend
  4. McLaren’s Holy Ghost*

* The inlay card calls the final song on this EP “MCLARENS HOLY GHOSTt” (in two places), the CD back inlay calls it “MCLARENS HOLY SMOKE”. Suns of Thunder’s MySpace page also goes with “Ghost”, so ghost it is.

Review

What can I say that hasn’t already been written about this debut EP from UK rockers Suns of Thunder? It mostly sounds like Clutch. A lot like Clutch.

The opening title track “Gimme some more” is a bit deceptive. When the first few high energy riffs rang out of my speakers I sighed a little: just another chord-bangin’, guitar-hammerin’, indistinct rock-by-numbers band I thought. But as the track progressed they started mixing things up, time changes, a groove-changing triplet here and a bit of southern, stoner feel to the song began to emerge.

On track two Suns of Thunder come clean and show their hand: they sound like Clutch! “The curse of the mothertruckers” could easily be a b-side on any single from Clutch’s 2005 album Robot Hive/Exodus. Everything from the song title to the crazy lyrics to the way the chorus stops suddenly and vocalist Greg Bombroffe drawls “the curse of the mothertruckers” screams Clutch.

Track three, “A funeral for a trend”, has a bit more of a slow start, a laid-back warm-up jam for about a third of the song. It builds to a gentle riff at 2’43” for about 20 seconds before falling back again to a jam. Singing doesn’t start until five minutes in, another Clutch-like southern groove with a very Neil Fallon-esque “good ship lollipop” lyric.

Finally, “McLaren’s Holy Ghost” (or “McLaren’s Holy Smoke” depending on which part of the packaging you read) kicks off with a distinctly lo-fi guitar and drums machine-gun riff before bass and organ bludgeon their way into the mix. (I mean that in a good way!) The vocals on this song have a kind of late-80s/early-90s funk/rap-crossover vibe to them which seems rather incongruous with the rest of the EP, but it kind of works.

Conclusion

I think it’s often unfair to liken one band to another, even if it’s true, because your expectations change and you close your ears to hearing what’s unique about that band. It’s also a little unfair to criticise a release where all the songs are quite different from one another, even if there is a connecting theme (that they all sound a bit like Clutch!) that joins them together. If all the songs were the same you’d criticise them, if they were all different you’d do the same: you can’t win.

In the end, for me it always comes down to two things: did I like it, and would I listen to it again? The answer to both questions is yes. It’s a loud, fun, rocking EP. I’ll definitely be looking out for them in the future. Gimme some more, indeed.

Review score: 70%