Any band with members that have featured largely in the Manchester music scene over the course of decades merits scrutiny. Drummer Simon Wolstencroft for example has history with no less than The Fall, Ian Brown and The Stone Roses, also Johnny Marr, and infamously declined to join The Smiths, thereby acquiring the moniker ‘the Nearly Man.’ Guitarist Chris Bridgett is a veteran of Dub Sex amongst others, recognised as perhaps Manchester’s finest band that didn’t register seismically.
Collectively, they morphed into The G-O-D around this time last year with their debut song ‘I Wish I Could Fly,’ critiqued then as “a throwback to the angsty revolt of 1976.” Now they have a self-produced EP, Grafters ov Denton, which will be released this week and made available through the usual channels (ITunes, Spotify etc).
‘Grafters ov Denton’ (a suburb of Greater Manchester and the home town of Brad and Janet in the Rocky Horror Show for those of a nerdy nature) is a variable expansion of G-O-D that reflects the difficulty of pinning down their musical style. Essentially a punk band, as another early song, ’20 Years Ago’ suggests, the first of the three EP tracks, ‘Drive Away the Rain,’ (something that Manchester would welcome as much as California right now) justifies that claim with the thumping bass of Karl Hildebrandt prominent from the start. But there haven’t been many songs of that genre that carry the strong melody line and supporting guitar flourishes that Bridgett conjures up here.
Then the second track, ‘Just Looking,’ slows right down and it could be the product of any one of a myriad of 70s or 80s soft rock bands, again with a strong hook, while ‘There Goes My Baby,’ name checking as it does the likes of Bowie and Bolan, is head banging Quo, through and through. The last line, “look out, she’s coming to get ya,” could easily have been “we’re coming to get ya,” before this third and final track bows out with a splendid reverb outro.
The whole is held together by Wolstencroft’s percussion, which is just so, and is ably supported by Tigerside’s on loan keyboardist Riven Seamarks.
Typically, veteran bands are condemned to a life of slogging around suburban and small town heavy rock pub venues playing covers but there is plenty in The G-O-D’s armoury as demonstrated by these three contrasting and intriguing tracks to suggest that a much more appealing future beckons. Simon Wolstencroft might even consider revisiting his moniker. On this showing, ‘nearly’ is so yesterday.
‘Grafters ov Denton’ is out now
The G-O-D play Manchester’s Aatma (Northern Quarter) on Saturday 25th February