Words by Russell Carstens
I sometimes wonder if indie music fans are becoming skeptical of stripped down, bass-less bands. I’m guilty of it at times. Heck, Beat Happening damn near perfected the idea in the early eighties. Since then, others have been putting their own spin on the concept.
My Goodness does just that on their album Shiver + Shake. Joel Schneider leads the band on guitar/vocals, backed by Andy Lum on drums. Opening with a bluesy drudge amidst cymbal swells, the title track effectively utilizes vocal sounds which mimic those of Dan Auerbach on many Black Keys songs. Later, Schneider riffs heavily over colossal drums. Props to the studio engineer, as the snare drum boasts an impressive mile-high boom that enhances the aggression. It’s a delight which can’t help but inspire enthusiastic headbanging in the privacy of your home or car.
“Sweet Tooth” features almost Cheap-Trick like power-pop vocal melodies. Schneider’s sarcastic and confrontational delivery of the lyric “so show me what you’re made of,” on “Back Again” is reminiscent of Iggy Pop’s delivery throughout Raw Power. Similarly, he howls away on “Pay No Mind.” The repeat-worthy intro of “Hangin’ On” demonstrates that these guys aren’t afraid to step into the territory of stoner metal riffing.
The eerie intro of “Cold Feet Killer” fits the title perfectly, moving into loud/soft dynamics perfected by a certain Seattle band of the past. The song follows a non-linear path, making it the most interesting tune on the album. “Say You’re Gone” builds the tension with a wallop of tight drum rolls like the chop of helicopter blades.
I had another reason to be a bit suspicious of My Goodness. As a lifelong Nirvana/
Melvins/Screaming Trees/everything Seattle music fan, I have high expectations for bands hailing from the city that spawned grunge (although that claim is up for debate). Even so, this duo take the two-person aesthetic made mainstream by The White Stripes and Black Keys and give the musicianship a swift kick in the rear with this effort. Thankfully, it’s no letdown.
Be proud, Seattle.
“Shiver + Shake”
© June 24th, 2014
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