Gods and Monsters review by Gary Lucas

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  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7 (1 vote)
Gary Lucas: Gods and Monsters

Sound — 10
Gods and Monsters covers a variety of styles, from the psychadelic tinged folk rock of Glo-Worm to the progressive rock of King Strong, passing punk-rock and blues along the way, amongst others. The emphasis of this album is on the music, as portrayed by the 4 instrumentals (though fans of Lucas would have expected a lot more), and leading the music is Lucas's guitar. There is no doubt that this is the main attraction, and rightly so, as in each guitar line, in each solo and lick Lucas somehow manages something new to find, even in his more reserved moments.

Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, this album is rather unremarkable, as Lucas does not fall into the trap of spouting pretentious and meaningless drivel that is so commonplace these days. While this is an applaudable path, it does leave very few points of interest, the only lyrics really worthy of note are on the ambiguous "Skin the Rabbit", where apocalyptic imagary acts as a counterpoint to the cheerful melody. The singing, mostly done by Rolo McGinty is nothing astounding, but is inoffensive enough. The vocal part really comes to the fore on "Astronomy Domin", which is the piece best suited to McGinty's Voice, and on "Poison Tree", where Mary Margaret O'Hara guests, her layered voice puntching through in the chorus.

Overall Impression — 9
The album opens with the relatively simple Glo-Worm, a cheerful but unremarkable psychadelic folk rock piece, before moving on to Skin the Rabbit. This is an interesting song, alternating between guitar and bass, and drum and handclap sessions, with Lucas's agile guitar harmonics juxtaposing with the macabre imagary of the lyrics. The third track, Poison Tree, is relatively simple folk piece, with a dark twist. O'Hara's voice complements this piece nicely, and the occasional manic cackle helps set the seen perfectly. Jack Johnson/Gohstrider is a dip in the album, this cover somehow falling flat. However, the album is pulled back on it's feet by the curious Whip Named Lash, a hard to define piece whose jittery guitar line gives way to an incendary double guitar solo. This is immediately followed by the instrumental Fool's Cap, which fans of Jeff Buckley may know better as Song To No-One. While not particularly notable, it carries the album through to the terryfying version of Astronomy Domin, a machine of a song, pounding away, with the guitarwork sending sparks flying. The Brain From Planet Eros is, to quote W.C. Bamberger, "a wonderful B-movie of a song" that is definately worth a look in. (Lucas achieves that "living room sound" by- you guessed it, recording it in his living room). This is followed by what is in my opinion the high light of the album- the painfully short instrumental Dream Of a Russian Princess, which immediately moves into the album's towering crecendo (once you have removed at the best shocking The Crazy Ray from your playists (you will, trust me)) King Strong, were Lucas's infernal guitar solos fill your head and burst your eyes from their sockets. In summersion, a brilliant album (except The Crazy Ray).

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