Godsticks (EP)

By Eduard Antoniu

This is the first release of a Welsh trio formed by Darran Charles (vocals, guitar, piano) and Jason Marsh (bass) about three years ago. In fact, they had started a bit earlier as a cover band. Both have been playing their main instruments for many years. Whereas Jason had played in other bands, this is Darran’s first (and, as he says, also last) band. Godsticks are items of Maori worship. The name was found by Rhiannon, Darran’s wife.

This EP has Keneally written on most of it (“Not the Face”, “Only When Provoked”, “Venial” and “Clinical”). It has five tracks totaling 22 minutes. I wish it were a CD. The band had shopped around but couldn’t compromise with some prog rock labels that asked them to write in a certain style. They stayed true to their musical vision and good they did.

This is why their MySpace page’s headline adds a question mark after “Progressive”. The musical material is original and not repetitive. You may also hear a bit of Rush “Alien Shore” in “Not the Face” (my favorite track). “Puppy Gardener” is distinctive. You will hear some King Crimson “Lament”, Rush “Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres Prelude”, Hatfield and the North, Finneus Gauge, Bryan Beller in it. Another distinction is in the drumming on this one and on “Only When Provoked” by Steve Roberts, and on the other three tracks by Aaron Evans. All this EP’s music had already been written by Charles and Marsh when Roberts joined in 2007, but Steve clearly left his mark on those two tracks.

The graphic artwork in saturated hues of yellow and red, done by Chris Maguire of the Screamadelica Studios in Cardiff, UK, is probably inspired by “Not the Face”. If you want to know what the graphic artwork shows, look the band up on MySpace and check their “My Photos” album. It will make you wonder like Peter Gabriel at the end of the “We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to…” lyric in Genesis’ “Supper’s Ready”.

It may take you more than one listen to enjoy the music on this EP. But, as Darran says, if you like it at the first listen, then your love of their music is insincere. Give this EP a try.

I have one more incentive for you. The band promises a whole album by this year’s end.