When you are forced to abandon your studio because of a skunk invasion, you know you’ve been unfortunate. This cruel fate was encountered by New God AKA brothers Kenny and Curt Tompkins who upped sticks from Maryland to Baltimore to acquire more expensive but thankfully polecat-free recording space and finish their second album.
There’s a fair few bands who marry Beach Boys-style harmonies to a hazy dream pop production and the opener ‘Firework’ is a noteworthy disciple of this movement. It’s a brilliant beginning but not one which entirely represents the overall New God sound. Granted, the vocal stylings and modern effects for ‘I Know Something About You’ and the sleepier, lullaby-like ‘In A Flash’ follow a similar course but ‘Demon Chant’, ‘Ocean Hum’ and a lovelorn ‘Dumb’ are all about the vocals rather than fancy studio tracks and the mantric leanings have closer links with the folk and hippy scene. Meanwhile, ‘Summer Girl’ dispenses with the 21st Century further still with a virtual psych rock pastiche. The experimental pop of ‘More’ also impresses but it’s the mysterious hidden track which tantalises the most, where the twinkling keyboards and thick acoustic guitars create a magical backdrop upon which the Tompkins brothers sing their hearts out once again.
It’s interesting to note that the brothers recorded their vocals in an abandoned racquetball court and the natural reverb creates the perfect atmosphere to support these spritually uplifting songs. Maybe those skunks did them a favour after all.
Simian, The Beach Boys