REVIEW: GOZU – REVIVAL (2016)

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Boston boys sling the riffs but do it their way

The phrase “with a twist” in connection to music is usually one to chill the blood along with “gentle comedy” or “joining us now for a sideways look at the weeks news….” And yet, try as we might MV can’t find a better summation for this record from Gozu than “riffs with a psychedelic twist”.

You kinda already knew that it would riff, riff and riff again when it was released on Ripple Music, who purvey nothing other than riffs  –  and good ones too, but when you take into account Gozu’s rather more idiosyncratic approach the other stuff might become clearer (or more muddied, depending on how you look at it).

The Boston band aren’t even too sure how many members they have – it’s five if their bass man makes an appearance – they are named after a cult Japanese film, and their t-shirts depict Paul Stanley and Traci Lords, and this sense of the unusual permeates the seven tracks that make up revival with great frequency.

“Nature Boy” might kick off with a swirling riff and keep its head down and foot on the monitor most of the way, but largely things rent that straight forward, “Bubble Time” is slower, preferring to crush rather than do a blitzkrieg attack, while there’s a downtuned feel, too, ti “Big Casino” but this one chooses to go off, like the others at various points into areas that you don’t expect them to and into areas where bands of this type do not usually frequent.

Take “Lorenzo Llamas” for example. The name might sound like some South American private eye, but it is a seven-and-a-half-minute labyrinthine affair with as many twists and turns as you like, which sees singer Marc Gaffney “praying for a revolution”. With the rabble suitably roused they are truly off and running and over an enormous bass groove and some Corrosion Of Conformity style riffing they suggest on the brilliant “By Mennen” that “the greatest thrill I’ve ever known is when my pain just will not go”. If that’s not a t-shirt waiting to be printed then MV doesn’t know what is.

There’s a short, sharp boot to the balls in “Dee Dee McAll”, but “Revival” ends with its longest and most complex track, with “Tin Chicken” taking things off to parts that even this record hasn’t previously reached, with Gaffney seemingly trying to channel his inner Jeff Buckley.

It all adds up to an interesting and often compelling collection that is quite happy with its lack of focus.

Rating 7.5/10

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