Gods Reflex - When It's Down to This (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Gods Reflex

When It's Down to This (2008)


With a breakup in 2003 and a reformation last year, it's been almost a decade since Gods Reflex's last album, and consequentially, a very tiny niche is very, very happy. But it's a niche that deserves a bit of expanding as proven by the record.

As much as vocalist/bassist Zach Newman might sing in an even more adolescent, raspy tone, When It's Down to This is completely absent of the Jawbreaker similarities that permeated 2000's Scenes from a Motel Seduction. Guitars are cleaner and noticeably refined from their previous distortion and jagged edges, while Newman sings with a sunnier disposition despite the occasionally bleak content of his lyrics. Granted, When It's Down to This certainly sounds like something that should've pre-dated the entire Gamits catalogue; however, this means it's largely a more original blend of influences that still manages to lightly harken to power-pop inflected, `90s Midwest emo.

When It Comes Down to This runs its course fluidly yet foggy, like a lost Smoking Popes album. Songs average four minutes apiece here (a full minute more than Motel Seduction's track mean), but Gods Reflex manage a vigor and flow that keeps them fairly gripping. The opening title track offers a sizeable hook, while Newman's delivery and diction on certain parts of the more reflective "Catholic Girls" is curiously creative. From about the :30 to :40 mark in the harmony-laced, energetic picker-upper "These Hands Are Strong Hands," he even sounds identical to Davey von Bohlen circa his early Maritime days. The earnest soul search of closer "These Lights Are a Fire Hazard" makes it a late standout, as well.

When It's Down to This doesn't seem like it'll match up to its predecessor, which nearly put them in the same class as Texas Is the Reason, the Promise Ring and Jawbreaker. However, considering how long the band's been MIA, it's undoubtedly a well-rounded and enjoyable effort and not to be missed by devotees of a style that's sorely lacking in the `00s.

When It's Down to This [downloadable]
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