Good Good Blood (James Smith) returns with another selection of haunting songs to delve into during these strange times.
‘There Are Wolves Here’ opens with ‘The Renegade’, a fractured and atmospheric piece of dream pop with a brooding bass line and dark lyrics: ‘The body pains will make you pay for the babe you laid on my floor’. Eventually, some lighter Big Thief-style strums start to break through like beams of sunlight but the sadness is very much at the forefront. This continues through to the eerie folk of ‘Harper Ran Away’. Feeling like a contemporary take on the traditional sound, there’s a hypnotic stance in James’ vocals as he sings ‘Harper came to stay. She didn’t last long. I’ll be down the way. Call me when done’.
Break-up song ‘Do You Care?’ follows and you can hear the pain and passion drawn from the words ‘now our love has gone away, it’s dead. Do you care?’ Following this, the sound of the album shifts tone into something that reminded us of the melodic indie-pop stylings of The Shins on ‘Stared Down Time’ – although it’s still remarkably poignant: ‘I fought with love, I kicked its shins. I tried to win but never do’.
‘The Neighbours are Talking’ is a 24-second interlude of rhythmic and poetic spoken word before ‘Tethered to Your Games’ finds James examining the effect love (or lust) can have on all of us and our anxieties: ‘Hearts are the hardest to hold’. This is swiftly followed by sister track ‘The Pieces of My Heart You Hold’, a layered and melodic piece about lost love with a swirling organ sound, handclaps and Fair Mothers guesting on guitar: ‘Now they’re gone you’ll never know the places that I love to go’.
The closing ‘On Time’ opens with a DIY feel as James laments the fact ‘There’s only love and love will only fuck you up. I learned the hard way honey, don’t waste your love’ before taking an experimental, beats-heavy route around two minutes in. It then settles into an outro that resembles The National dipping their toes into post-rock with added industrial synths as the title of the song is repeated with menace.
Good Good Blood’s new record is one that will have you howling with heartbreak.