Goodtime Boys have come a long way since 2010. When the band started out they were a far more aggressive and no-frills, hardcore punk band but fast forward four years and they’ve grown exponentially as songwriters.
While it’s clear the band’s music is still rooted in punk, Goodtime Boys have taken cues from post hardcore for their debut album Rain and the resulting sound is far more song-driven. This means the band’s music is ever so slightly less progressive. Also, hooks and melodies are often drawn out longer than on previous records.
The obvious improvement comes with the band’s song structures. The music on Rain has a far more natural flow that means melodies often build and build over the course of a song. Starting from a stripped back, vocal-lead introduction, more elements are introduced before things are really set off with some beautiful, glassy lead guitar like on Doubt.
Melody has also started to infect vocalist Alex Pennie. Pennie’s vocals are still predominantly screamed in his wonderful, heartfelt bark, but as opener Washout and Newspaper Sky prove, the man can add some eerie atmosphere to the band’s music through his voice alone.
In fact, the only time Goodtime Boys return to their balls-to-the-wall past is on Moral Decay which spends the first half of the song beating you round the head with thrashy drumming and a relentless punk riff that will ignite some serious pits. But even this track can’t escape the band’s fine-tuned musicianship because the second half manages to dial things back before an uplifting crescendo full of tremolo picking. This really is superb stuff.
The album also benefits from having Scumscene favourite Lewis Johns at the mixing desk (which would be obvious considering he’s actually a member of Goodtime Boys). The reason why we love Johns so much is because his production never compromises a live sound in favour of precision. Johns also manages to keep all the energy and grit that comes with an aggressive performance but makes every element of the sound super clear.
Goodtime Boys have really hit their stride on Rain and it’s an album every post hardcore fan should consider owning. The music is still aggressive but it now flourishes into gorgeous melodies drenched in haunting atmosphere. 2014 has been a stunning year for post hardcore records with Vales delivering an equally excellent album and it’s about time we recognise Goodtime Boys in a similar light. Rain is an astonishing debut album that deserves your attention.