30 Reviews in 30 Days: #17
godhead – The Shadow Realigned
Warrior Records, 29 April 2014.
Shifting gears a bit to do something that arrived in my inbox a few days ago. A preorder allowed me early access to the mp3 album. But first a bit of history, I first met Jason Charles Miller (as he goes by now in his solo career) when he melted my soul with his silky voice in the band Blind. I saw them live at a club in Wichita, Kansas that went by Rock something (not the Rock Island). It was in a strip mall and I have long since killed the brain cell that filed away the full name of the club. Anyway. I bought the cassette and am surprised that I have not wore that thing out. Later I was contacted by his booking agent at the time to book his new project, godhead. I got their promo material and booked them at Kirby’s Too. We’ve been in contact off and on over the years. I grew excited when they were taken under Marilyn Manson’s wing and gained some commercial success. Then, Jason went solo and alt country. But I still can’t get away from drowning in his voice. Needless to say I was skeptical at first when they said an album was coming out. I was thinking just straight up reissue when I heard it was the Shadow Line, then it became clear to me that this was a remix, hence, Realigned. This is a cold review – I am hearing these for the first time and you are reading my first impressions:
1. The Gift (Robotic Beehive Remix) – A more haunting version.
2. Through the Cracks (Sweet Kill Remix) – Ready for pop radio with an 80’s modern rock influence in the overall feel.
3. Unrequited (Ben Moody Remix) – Reminds me of the Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode on many levels in the opening sequence. And more the Cure in the delivery of the lyrical delivery of Jason Charles Miller in this version. A worthy remix of the original that I have adored since I first laid my ears and brain on it.
4. Hey You (Ginormous Remix) – The undergroove that is the remix here sounds like it could easily be in a TV show or video game, more so the TV show once you add the lyrics, “Hey you, what do you want me to do?” Paging the CW, Julie Plec.
5. Trapped in Your Lies (NeonGenesis Remix) – Hardcore dance mix? This one is trying too hard. It barely resembles the original. I love the original and some things that beautiful should not be fucked with this much.
6. Inside Your World (Dark Moon Remix) – Cold, stark, heavy industrial. I like the treatment this one got.
7. Goodbye (Khursor Remix) – Oh, the way a breakup song should be, full of venom and spit. Really captures the bird as one walks into a crowded city busy street – the bird flashed at the one who likely deserved it from the mood of the lyrics, delivered still hauntingly perfect by Miller.
8. Another Day (Shoks Other Way Remix) – Another walk away song. This is the next chapter from “Goodbye” but this is about starting over and gets a more upbeat mix that could be a righteous industrial, dance club floor burner. Come on everybody now, raise your arms in praise and clap your hands.
9. Once Before (Arritmic Remix) – Another upbeat dance mix. Damn, I like this treatment. I can see using this in playlists, CD mixes (if I ever burn one of those again).
10. Push (Creature Remix) – This partly feels like an old 80’s video game, a feel of a cross between something like Pole Position and Defender or Galaga. It’s fun, a bit gritty, and slightly sexy.
11. Your End of Days (Jamison Boaz Remix) – Darkly delivered Beatles-esque in the chorus, especially. Are we sure Yoko Ono did not get ahold of this? Seriously, though, I dig it.
12. Fall Down (Joe Bishara Remix) – A mid-80’s radio pop treatment, that feels updated. The least crunchy remix so far of the album.
13. Unrequited (Team Cybergeist Remix) – A faster version of the original. It’s different than the other treatment this song gets, but I do like them both.
14. Trapped in Your Lies (Psyclon Nine Remix) – Now, as I said, beauty shouldn’t be fucked with – this is a good fuck. A darkly delicious stark dirty version of the original. The mix made it sound like you are hearing it through an echo chamber or being blasted through a club wall – a metaphorical box given walls in the sound. You can fuck with beauty if you do it right.
15. To Heal – The first new godhead song in about six years. Other reviewers have said that it is a dig from the archives. It is classic godhead sound, and while it’s good, I can hear why it may not have made the cut onto the albums of yore. It’s an album track, perhaps at the end, a plea – “All I want is to heal.”
16. God of Thunder (Kiss cover) – The last two tracks of this realignment are covers from two of their influences. Why this song? Were they just screwing around in studio during their reunion and this is what emerged? It’s not bad, and Jason (if indeed it is Jason) growling shows versatility in his voice. But if he sang this way all the time, he would still have the vocal chops 20 years later.
17. Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode cover) – Depeche Mode’s influence is more evident throughout godhead’s overall body of work. This treatment is a good homage to Depeche Mode. I’m more likely to hit the skip track button past “God of Thunder” to this track when listening to the album as a whole in the car and crank this one up. Placing this track here as it fades out serves to end the album on a more upbeat note.
Overall, there are a lot more tracks that I like than dislike at first blush. The weakest remix track in my opinion is the NeonGenesis version of “Trapped in Your Lies.” Despite that, I still give this:
and not just because I love Jason’s voice and overall body of work. As of this writing, the official godhead page on Facebook only has 6365 Likes which is way too few for the quality of music they have released over the years. Please seek out this album, and seek out their back catalog. It will be well worth your time.
Listening notes: Cold listening, using the mp3 version unzipped to my hard drive on my Samsung NP300 laptop and those Emerson earbuds. I do have the physical copy, signed by Jason (thank you). No, I’m not sharing or posting up the mp3’s anywhere for you to steal. Support underground DIY music and buy the thing yourself. I hear it will be distro’ed by Best Buy, too, but just use the link above and cut out a middle man.