Nashville Tennesee’s native alt-rock trio The By Gods have channelled a love of all things nineties into their fourth album, Move On. Not content with merely coasting off nostalgia across twelve tracks, they present contemporary issues such as religion, depression, terrorism and social media through distorted vocals and as many fuzz pedals as humanly possible.
The first chords ring into life on the slow burning title track with no shortage of Cobain worship being placed front and centre, before overpowered guitars come crashing in to set the pace for the following tracks. It’s the first of many homages to the likes of Nirvana, Pixies, Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam, the band are far from quiet about their influences. ‘Bitter Life’, for example, is an energetic cut that could quite easily be mistaken for the debut single from Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder’s love child. It isn’t devoid of unique personality however, the quiet/loud, slacker dynamic of previous efforts has been inserted just enough to keep things fresh, ‘Wait Up’ is an album highlight and a particularly prevalent example of the bands originality with its male/female vocal trade-off.
The real aim of the game this time round is soaring melodies, an endeavour in which the band frequently knock it out of the park. You only have to get as far as track three, ‘Rat In My House’, to realise their penchant for the catchiest of hooks and stickiest of melodies. A consistently low, rumbling bass tone keep things from being too sickly sweet in poppier moments, whilst the sheer spectrum of influence and variation in the riffing keeps the record from becoming a monotonous ode to the days of alt-rock gone by.
Move On triumphs on multiple levels, it sees The By Gods cementing an identity of their own, whilst homaging their musical heroes and likely introducing their listenership to a whole world of legendary bands. Their new sound may not be the most original in the world, but by god they do it well.