Album of the Week Review :: New Gods ‘Beloved’
November 14th 2013
I don’t mean to preach when I tell you that New Gods’ debut album Beloved, is a gift sent straight from up on high.
I’ll tell you why: the two frontmen are from the much loved but deceased Little Red, and they’re offering it to you to download for free.
But first, a bit of essential history. After last year’s break up of much-loved Melbourners Little Red, frontmen Dom Byrne (vocals/guitar) and Adrian Beltrame (guitar) have swiftly founded their next creative outlet, New Gods. In addition to Dale Packard (Ground Components) on keys, the new outfit is bolstered by the members of Byrne’s other-other band, The Greasers— Sam Raines on drums and Richard Bradbeer on bass (Eagle and the Worm).
But throw away any preconceptions from the sun-drenched vibes left from two memorably poppy Little Red albums, the 60s inspired The Greasers tracks, and the bluesy Eagle and The Worm.
Beloved is a debut album exposing unashamedly tender memories of adolescence and love, matched with a progressive instrumentation that may have been incompatible with Little Red.
In ‘Step Into The Light’ Byrne sings, “All the songs we sung, they just won’t be strong enough,” but Byrne’s new dedication for honest emotion in songwriting shows as much strength as it does vulnerability.
You can’t deny the raw emotion in this live version of ‘Eyes Of Love’ complete with a guitar slam finale.
The refined but renowned guitar work of past is dropped in preference of a sonic messiness that perfectly assists Byrne’s wandering storytelling. Hints of sampling, electronic production and added instrumentation pop up in unexpected places, making the start of each track indistinguishable from its ending. The searing guitar solo of ‘Joy & Pain’ disintegrates into a gentle piano harmony, and the bleak bass and drum intro of ‘I Love You Too’, culminates into a cacophony of synth, string and horns.
It’s hard to point out highlights of such a diverse album packed with everything from psych freak outs to piano ballads, but the 8 minute lamentation, ‘Caravan Park’, warrants a mention. Its slow sliding bassline and taunting lyrics paint a dreary Aussie getaway, complete with bullies, writing off the station wagon and “the wine and the weed… what else do you need?”
Beloved is an album packed with layers of meaning waiting to be revealed. Peruse the Beloved website’s “digital cassette” of personal images that match each track and lose yourself in the band’s slacker existence. Also on the website: your free download.
Beloved is out now. FBi’s album of the week: 1.11.13 – 8.11.13