Goodtime Boys – ‘Rain’

By Joshua Wroath

Currently it would seem that there is an abundance of US hardcore punk bands (Touché Amoré, La Dispute, Modern Life Is War to name just a few) with the UK and rest of the world seemingly being left in the wake of the endless pool of talent on the other side of the Atlantic. Cardiff’s Goodtime Boys are one band trying to change that, with their first full length LP aiming high and hoping to bring the UK hardcore scene more recognition. ‘Rain’ is a strong debut for sure, but it isn’t without its hangups.

Honing their sound for a few years now, Goodtime Boys have finally delivered a strong concrete sound. Having reassembled with two new members last year (Lewis Johns on guitar and Casey McHale on drums), the band decided to focus more on immediate sound and raw energy rather than dwelling on intricate sections, parts and songs. This has made ‘Rain’ a solid album, without any part sounding too produced, too exaggerated or over-layered (which can so often be a case with hardcore).

‘Washout’s atmospheric beginning forefronts the underlining lyrical template of the whole album: inevitable death, loss and uncertainty. It’s not a cheery album by any stretch of the imagination, there’s no way of getting around that. Alex Pennie’s lyrics delve into the darker tones of life with each song carrying agonizing questions and confused thoughts; there is absolutely no moment of sunshine on the album. Everything is just unhappy and desolate it would seem. Even the way Pennie sings/screams at times give the impression that the lyrics are too much to handle for him sometimes, with his vocals having a near exasperated, unbearable-can’t-hold-on element to them. It’s something rare these days.

An album centred around bleak, sombre themes is hard to listen too without it becoming completely depressing, which if you allow it to, ‘Rain’ could do. But thankfully the music of the Goodtime Boys, with walls of guitars, riveting drums and fresh breakdowns, doesn’t allow the album to get too heavy. With new guitarist Lewis John producing the album, it’s clear to hear that the band not only acquired an established guitarist, but also an exceptional producer, with the songs being perfectly mixed.

‘Rain’ is just one of dozens of UK hardcore punk albums set to come out this year, but it is definitely a contender for one of best of the year so far. Capturing all the elements that make hardcore so passionate, Goodtime Boys look set to push on from this debut with hopefully more to come in the future.

JOSHUA WROATH

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