I’ve listened to a pretty solid variety of new records this year, but it’s always nice to come back to something from the DIY punk world. God Equals Genocide are one of those bands—they could go on tour, struggling to get gas money in bar after bar, but they’d rather just drive the van to some out-of-the-way basement, plug in, play, and then hope for a couch to sleep on. That’s all evident to me just from listening to Rattled Minds. It’s an angry romp of a record: too rough and tumble to call pop-punk, but way too melodic to call hardcore. Throw in a dose of lo-fi, and you’ve got God Equals Genocide.
The LP is the first full-length from this three-piece after a few 7”s spread over the years. The sound itself is difficult to describe concisely—there are a lot of influences going on: from garage to surf to hardcore to classic punk, yet there is a very consistent uniqueness to the band, mostly rooted in the punk scene. The strength comes from pulling together this wealth of influence, and adding a sloppy, one-take-recording feel, but applying that to songs that, themselves, aren’t sloppy at all. Instead, the songwriting creates a tight, fiery number and then the band plays it with wild abandon. In short, the ten songs here probably sound the same live as they do on record—and that’s a beautiful thing. Dual vocal, female/male tradeoff and a lot of heavy riffage define the record, complementing the guitars and pounding rhythm section with relentless, semi-melodic screaming courtesy of Adrian Chi and Daryl Gussin.
Trading vocals between the two, the songs never let up. Gussin and Chi will typically alternate lead songs and come together in some fashion at the chorus, but they each have tradeoffs as well. Neither is what you’d call a great singer—there’s a fair shake of off-key moments, but it adds personality to the tracks and, besides, the notes fly past so quickly there’s no time to let it linger. The longest song on here is 1:58 and the shortest, “Give Me a Break,” is fifty-eight seconds. There’s a pop sensibility that overrides the anger, making God Equals Genocide more of a band to go dance to than to shake your fist with, and the blend of bouncy pep, as exhibited in “You’re Different,” and screechy anger, such as “I Don’t Wanna Wake Up and Be You.” It makes me think back to earlier Recess Records sounds—anything off Rattled Minds would fit in nicely on a Hot Curly Weenie sampler. It all culminates in the garage-y “A Place.” If male-female vocals, bouncy lo-fi punk, and serious but not-quite-anthemic lyricism is your thing, this is definitely worth checking out. “Stranger’s Dog,” mixes the angry delivery with a backing “oh oh” and the contrast is a perfect illustration of the overall tone. In fact, if any of the descriptions above pique interest, I’d recommend seeking this out, as there’s a bit of everything in this release that should give it a good cross appeal beyond different scenes.
For added appeal, the LP spins at 45rpm and has a bonus EP from Dumbag Daryl & the GEG Bags added onto the 12”—and even with the bonus songs it still comes in under twenty minutes.
7.4 / 10
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