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GoodBooks - Control

GoodBooks, Control

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ANOTHER week, another release from a band being touted as the hottest new guitar act in Britain. But whereas most seem to subscribe to the tried and tested formula of punk-rock infused riffs with lyrics that reflect teen angst and/or disaffection with English life and global politics, GoodBooks at least attempt to try and bring something a little more to the mix.

The four-piece from Sevenoaks in Kent, who boast an average age of 21, draw from a much broader spectrum. Recent single Passchendaele, for instance, wrapped some fine melodies and a cracking chorus in a song about two generations of a family dying in two world wars. It’s both historical in context and contemporary in outlook, serving as a wise cautionary tale that in war there are no real winners, only losers.

The track that immediately follows The Curse Of Saul takes an obligatory shot at political leaders, tapping into the misguided trust we place in people who sometimes make a career out of lying. But it’s relayed with intelligence, rather than a straightforward blast – and it makes you think rather than join the chant.

There is a layered approach to every song that unfolds rather like, ahem, a good book. So while a cursory listen might not reap massive rewards, it’s worth sticking with the band for the songs tend to get better with repeated listens.

Other highlights include the electronically focused slow-builder Violent Man Lovesong, which drifts along in nicely atmospheric fashion complete with a softer, more haunted set of vocals from amiable frontman Max Cooke, the former single Leni that contains some snappy hooks, and the edgy, ’80s-influenced Start/Stop, which brings the album to a suitably impressive close (the bass, in particular, seems cut from Duran Duran’s cloth).

GoodBooks have been compared with bands like Bloc Party and The Maccabees and while there are traces of both bands in their make-up, they have very much created their own individual work. And while it may fall short of becoming an instant classic, the building blocks appear to be in place to use Control as a solid platform upon which to build a very interesting career.

The opening chapter in GoodBooks career certainly makes for interesting reading…

Download picks: Passchendaele, Start/Stop, Violent Man Lovesong, Beautiful To Watch

Track listing:

  1. Beautiful To Watch
  2. Illness
  3. Passchendaele
  4. Curse Of Saul
  5. Alice
  6. Good Life Salesman
  7. Violent Man Lovesong
  8. Last Day
  9. Walk With Me
  10. Leni
  11. Turn It Back
  12. Start/Stop