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Album Review
god bows to math

god bows to math
by god bows to math

Muzai Records

Review Date
24th November 2011
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

god bows to math aren’t messing around. Aside from their constant gigging around the country, this album is their second release of the year (preceded by the EP Solar Lights Don’t Work At Night in June). But while prolific, the band hasn’t let the quality suffer. This self-titled effort is as relentless and vigorous as the band’s work ethic.

In describing what god bows to math sound like most people would probably start in the same place: Steve Albini. Veering more towards the Big Black end of the spectrum than Shellac, the material maintains energy, aggression and directness. But as the name implies (taken as it is from a Minutemen song) God Bows to Math exhibit an eclecticism that prevents them from simply sounding like a pale imitation. They weave a wavering course centred around a noise-rock aesthetic that touches upon post-punk, post-rock , post-hardcore, post-box and math rock, swaying from harsh dissonance to melodic tunefulness. But they never fall into the easy trap of self-indulgence or alienating cleverness. In fact, the humor evident in some track titles ('Yr Kids Aren’t Special But I Am',  'How to Beat Your Dad At Chess ') tend to suggest this isn’t entirely serious.

Focusing more on the songs specifically; God Bows To Math are not a one trick pony. While they play around with a style that often leads to a homogeneous output, they dodge that pitfall.  Tracks like 'Slow Decline' and 'The Ship That Sank a Thousand Faces' have the expected efficacy and attack but then 'Small Victories' recalls some of Slint’s more contemplative moments whilst 'Yr Kids…' strays into more abstract and instrumental territory. There is a good balance of dynamics across the album with the result that when god bows to math go big it actually achieves the desired result. Likewise, the production achieves a nice balance: a solid live sounding recording making judicious use of overdubs to enhance the intended character of each number.

If I were a hackneyed film critic I would probably pronounce this album “a triumph” but instead I have used satire to say the same thing.  But seriously, this is a very good album from a band at the top of their game. Christmas is approaching and god bows to math would make an ideal stocking filler for the whole family.


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