One of the words bandied around when reading about this band is “sloppy.” That’s an interesting term, because for many it can indicate a joie de vivre approach to playing, whilst others might not even take a chance on something that they believe won’t live up to their notion of punk rock, which is the well-produced and clean sound of the EpiFat bands. Personally I like the term, although having listened to God Equals Genocide’s first long player, I would hesitate to make too much of that one word. In fact there are a number of words I’d rather apply to the sound created by this trio and they would be; primitive, primal, basic and/or simple, and none of those would be in any way used in a derogatory way.
God Equals Genocide basically pump out 10 snappy, fuzzy and kind of low-fi tunes that are short in duration but plentiful in terms of enjoyment provided. With the band utilizing both solo male and female vocals, this provides a neat change over the short space of time that this album plays for (14 minutes, 30 seconds), plus when they do sing together, it works equally as well with two sets of vocal chords straining to keep pace with the burgeoning racket.
The album opens with a kick ass track in “Give It Up Front,” which immediately gets the blood pumping and sets the tone for the brief work out to follow. From then on it’s a case of nine more blasts of fuzzed up bliss, with a guitar that at times sounds almost kazoo-like (and again, that is not meant as a slight in any way as the guitar sound is very good) and a blur of drums keeping pace with the more than apt bass sound. There are sing-along moments too, most obviously on the first and last tracks, although maybe “shout-along” might be a more appropriate term here, which all adds to the urgent, yet inclusive, feel on this album. With the songs being so short, there is obviously no room for any histrionics from the guitar, so no solos to be found here, but to be honest there is no need for them given the brief and raucous nature of these tracks.
It would be easy to say that bands playing such primitive music often do so with a lack of emphasis on the lyrical content, be it as they are more concerned with creating that musical impact over any interesting or thought-provoking message. That is certainly not a criticism that can be leveled at God Equals Genocide, where there are more than a handful of songs where the lyrics do make an impression, coming as they do from a personal perspective and delivering messages without being overly wordy or preachy. I find both “Give It Up Front” and “A Place” to be prime examples of conveying a point of view across in a succinct and measured way, whereas “Why” takes on an almost Discharge like approach to lyrics in a very basic, yet effective, way.
I’d be surprised if this doesn’t place in my annual top ten long players for 2012, as it is fresh sounding without being derivative or overproduced. I would add that I’m not naïve enough to believe that the sound which God Equals Genocide produces on this album is low on production values--it must take some work to make things come across as they do--but what it does lack, and ultimately benefits from, is a crystal clear, pristine feel that can frequently squeeze the life force out of recorded music. The result is music packed with urgency and ability, being anything but sloppy in my view, and its simplicity is what makes it stand out.