New Gods – New Gods EP
New Gods’ decision to introduce themselves via an EP would appear to be a smart move: a chance to cool things off a little, and to establish themselves as an entity unto themselves, rather than merely “What Dom Byrne of Little Red Did Next”. With respect to Rich Bradbeer, Sam Raines, Dale Packard and especially fellow Little Red alumnus Adrian Beltrame, this EP is Byrne’s show – in fact, New Gods is crying out for a less deferential supporting cast.
Given the scope of New Gods, the decision to introduce the new band with an EP makes even more sense. They’ve tried a bit of everything here, and you sense that they’re still deciding where to go, trying out all the flavours before committing to a full-length. Thing is, it’s impossible not to hear the story of Little Red’s disintegration in these songs. Not lyrically, of course – Byrne sticks to opaque, widescreen matters of the heart – but stylistically. Free from the tension of the increasingly divergent styles of Little Red’s three principal songwriters, Byrne makes a clean break from the last vestiges his old band’s mod/soul/R&B melange, in favour of Springsteen-isms (‘Razorblades’), yacht rock (‘70 Hours’), uh, arena grunge (‘Skipping Stone (Oblivion)’) and even a cheeky detour into post-dubstep (‘Klipse’). In short, everything.
New Gods is eclectic, but holding it together is Byrne’s ragged tenor and his knack for easy, affecting melodies, best exhibited on no-brainer single ‘On Your Side’. While not quite as grandiose as ‘Slow Motion’ or ‘All Mine’, it goes some way to explaining why New Gods were immediately snapped up by Liberation, Little Red’s old label – Byrne can knock out a radio-ready tune in his sleep. The EP is a somewhat disjointed affair, but intriguing nonetheless. It is the sound of one of Australia’s most promising young songwriters, deciding where to go next.