This is their story……

The unwieldy album title probably gives it away, but “The Amazing Memoirs Of Geoffrey Goddard” (henceforth TAMOGG ‘cos this review is 500 words long and MV cannot be arsed with typing that out every few lines) is a concept record.

Now, we know this will send half of the readers running for the hills, but fear not, we aren’t talking about Rick Wakeman doing “The Six Wives Of Henry The Eighth” here (although, to be fair that’s pretty cool in our book). It is however fair to say that for their third studio album, Leicester trio Skam have pulled out all the stops.

The 12 songs here concern themselves with the story-arc of Squadron Leader Geoffrey Goddard, a test pilot from 1935, who is a victim of strange forces that jolt him through time.

Now, we are sure that the boys in the band have sweated blood to make sure it all makes sense, but as ever MV has a simple test when it comes to the concept album: if you don’t buy into – or don’t care less about – the narrative, can you still enjoy it?

The answer here is a resounding hell and indeed yes.

“Between The Eyes” builds itself up in a way that you know something ace is coming. A strident drum beat from Neal Hill, a swaggering bass rumble from Matt Gilmore and its all topped off with a dirty little riff from Steve Hill – appropriately they have lift off.

The lead work here is different to most of those on the hard rock path. There is a real stoner type fuzz about it, and allied to their obvious gift for writing hooks and choruses you can hum, this is something of a career high.

“Iron Cross” seethes and slams in equal measure, “Otherside” vies for the title of best song here with the track that follows it, the quite brilliant “Take It Or Leave It”.

With absolutely no disrespect to the story arc, you almost forget about it, until the narration at the start of the melodic “Piece Of Mind” which has echoes of MV’s late 90s faves Wilt, before “Bring The Rain” ups the tempo – and the swagger factor – again.

Recorded old school, with the band all in the same room, there is a real warmth about the music here. Nothing sounds forced, instead it is all natural. “Fading Before The Sun” is a very British slice of rock n roll and sounds just about perfect, while “Two Worlds” really lets its hair down and reaches for the horizon at breakneck speed.

As the record hurtles to a close – and the story reaches its third act – there are no let ups. “Believe In Me” is a rapid fire thing worthy of the first Velvet Revolver album and with the same stadium bothering attitude (on, no doubt, a millionth of the budget). “Aching Hearts” is a bluesy ballad, and “New Dawn” brings the journey to a close (Spoiler Alert: He lands) with one last groove that suckers you in.

A line at the start of that song sums up the last two years for the band: It always seems impossible until its done.

No doubt there were moments en route when this undertaking seemed like the fictional four years of the central character. But for both Skam and Geoffrey Goddard, the hard work paid off – and yeah, this is pretty amazing.

Rating 8.5/10

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