Can you think of anything good that's come out of Wisconsin in the last few years? The Green Bay Packers haven't been anything special, their cheese isn't particularly spectacular, and they've done nothing in the way of music. Can any of you even name a city in Wisconsin besides Green Bay or Milwaukee, let alone bands from there? I know I'm lost on anything. Hell, I didn't know these guys were from there until I flipped through the liner notes. Well, has Wisconsin overcome itself and exported something worth your time with the Goodboy Suit's album, Within Walls Without Windows?
Yes. Yes they certainly have.
This album was another of those looking-through-a-distro impulse buys, and I've got to admit, this is one of the best things I've ever found doing that. The Wisconsin four-piece have put out a driving, intricate, and dark record here, though for the first time in a while, I'm at a loss for comparison. No, it's not out there enough to be able to escape a comparison, but whatever they sound like is eluding me. They play a medium-paced, brooding, anguished style of rock, but it's suprisingly refreshing.
The first song, and probably the album's strongest, "End Sequence" starts out with some low-tuned guitar and adds a simple drum beat, but soon enough kicks in. The pace is never really all that fast, but the instrumentation is near flawless throughout the duration of this, and every other song on the album as well. The guitars for the most part are heavily distorted but played very inricately. There are moments of loud, crunching riffs, and then moments of quickly played clean parts, and slower distorted parts; it all depends on the overall mood of the song.
There are more up-tempo songs, such as "End Sequence," and then slower, more relaxed songs like "Product To Press." The musicianship in either style is tight, with the drummer furiously pounding away at times and at others keeping the slow, driving beat. Also creating a different sound is the inclusion of the viola to finish out the final song, "Platform."
Whether fast or slow, this album however impresses me most in the vocal department. Singer/guitarist George Bregar's voice is refreshingly unique. Again, I can't think of any valid comparisons to make to any other frontman, but if I was forced to strech, I'd say Benton Falls singer Micheal Richardson in his most intense, throat-ripping moments. His voice is what initially drew me into these songs, because of the power and conviction dripping from every word. Every word from the lyric sheet is dripping with emotion and clever introspection, so if that's your thing, I have found the band for you. Bregar's voice is loud and convincing, but luckily it never feels strained. He never feels like he's struggling to reach the level that he does. The music is full of highs and lows, and the vocals expertly use that to bring out the most from every word. Either quiet and near a gravelly whisper or singing that borders on a low scream, the emotive vocals feel perfect in weaving in and out of the music. If there's anything that can initially grab you into the music and hold on for the ride, these vocals will do it.
But what are great vocals if the lyrics don't match up? Thankfully, it's not an issue with the Goodboy Suit. The lyrics are intelligent and very well constructed for each specific song. A lot of times, bands just try to say too much at once, and leaves whoever's looking at the lyrics in the dust, trying to figure out just what the hell they meant by it. While it's not the most important thing in an album, lyrics certainly do hold a lot of weight, and that weight is distributed beautifully here. Whether it's just one clever line:"Make a motion with your face and cry out loud / Don't forget the most important part is contact." Or, the entire song, as in "Product To Press." I'm not going to type out the entire song, but here's a sample of how good the writing is here.:
There's four miles of camber at your feet, the framework is shot / We used to leave for an hour, at a moment's notice there's a board missing on the North wall / Longs for an organ with no keys, no envy for the children / Walking back to the yard, no credit for the man that left me to this machine.Everybody's perception of lyrics are different, but to me, that's some damn good songwriting, and it perfectly compliments the damn good instrumentation and absolutely amazing vocals.
This is a complete release, and one that should be in everybody's collection. I purchased this over a year ago and still listen to it regularly. It's just that kind of album, and I urge you to try it out.