When you release an album as strong and visceral as “Vultures” as your début calling card which British rock band God Damn did in 2015- then you might forgive the band for heading their bets when it came to their second offering. It would have been very easy and very tempting to deliver another slab of their corrosive, howling rock’n’roll. In this age of not really being able to take real risks, giving the punters another Vultures might have been a very good idea indeed.
It is to the band’s considerable credit, conviction and integrity that Everything Ever is a step forward from Vultures. It is also a step up. Before you all get carried away wondering whether they have released a triple album of progressive Jazz- they haven’t but they have built on the template of fuzzy, irascible rock tunes in a way that suggests that, far from being a flash in the pan that some naysayers would have had you believe, the duo are in it for the long haul.
There are a number of things that impress on this record. First, the band’s rage is firmly in place but here it has a focus and a discernment that wasn’t quite so pronounced on their début. This isn’t a simple record of cathartic screeching, however attractive that might be as a proposition. Everything Ever (One Little Indian), despite being recorded in just under a month, has an air of accomplishment and focus. The call to arms of opening track Sing This sets the pace and intent with considerable aplomb. You’re struck by the songwriting strength, the depth and power of the melody and the sheer visceral nature of this that you have to remind yourself that this is just two passionate guys from Wolverhampton, England making a racket. And what a racket.
Second, this is an album that is packed to the gunnells with tunes and melodies and, despite the band’s best intentions to cover these tunes in fuzzy distorted guitars and howling vocals, the tunes are undeniable. Everything Ever contains the best songs that the band have yet written. Comparisons with Nirvana’s aesthetic will be obvious and numerous, but equally there are nods to Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr at their most ferocious that should piqué your interest. There is real progress here, whether in the heaviness of ‘Six Wires’, the galloping ‘Ghost’ or the acoustic closer ‘Easily Misled’. On ‘Fake Prisons’ there is a sense of dynamic and aural power that has you warming to their schtick even more.
Granted, it’s not all marvellous and there are a couple of misfires across the album but, reader, I’m quibbling. Everything Ever sees God Damn hone their craft, broaden their artistic horizons but lose none of their verve, crunch or bloody mindedness in the process.Everything Ever will have those who liked Vultures remaining resolutely happy and those fence sitters coming down off their splintered resting places and joining everyone else down the front. Dirty, smelly, fun; as all the best records should be.