Imitation is apparently the highest form of flattery, in which case there are falsetto owned singers from here to Los Angeles fainting with so much praise. Mimicry only gets you so far until you’re just a Beatles tribute act selling millions of records a year.
Or just plain boring everyone’s tits off with how much you have copied every other chart bothering, X-Factor final hundred thousandth contestant warbling sound-a-like.
Gud Jon have named themselves after the father of a Reading or Burnley midfielder with a big ginger beard. Probably. I’m trying to make them sound interesting.
Holmgang is their debut E.P, five tracks of minimalist trip hop inflected pop. Think Zero 7 with a permanent male singer. It’s all quirky beats, experimental in inverted commas, produced to within an inch of its life.
They are a triumvirate of musicians, including “Icelandic native” Gudjon Bodvarsson, born there, but arrived in the UK by the age of 12 via the U.S and Russia. The other two are British without interesting enough names or back stories to warrant inclusion in the band name or more than a passing mention in the press release.
Lead track ‘Line Break‘ has a very odd techno breakdown coda that may have been lifted straight from a 90’s compilation.
The kick off is an interesting percussion pattern that pans across the headphones before a backwards Indian repetitive vocal loop.
Gudjon is a chorister for two choirs in London, but was brought up on Rammstein and Snoop Dogg, neither of which seem to have filtered through to influence the E.P.
Track Two ‘Uniform‘ is so dull and sub par alt-J it will make you want to melt your face off with a welders torch.
‘Water’ is a strange gospel song extolling the benefits of H2O as if Sam Smith had been dragged in by Buxton to sell some new product with the extract of a new fruit found in the Bible Belt of the American Mid-West.
The finale, the title track, is more of the same, with a touch less harmonies, a bit of arpeggio guitar, mournful piano and utterly pointless background noises they probably found in the library on ProTools.
No doubt someone thinks this is cutting edge and it must have taken them ages to multi track atmospheric harmonies and back vocals and this is a stepping stone for them to find their identity but they might struggle to find a loyal band of followers.
It feels very contrived in the hope of a mainstream audience who bought Rag’n’Bone Man in their millions and from the A&R who thought the Radiohead entry for the James Bond “Spectre” theme song was too leftfield and gave you a limp power ballad.
You’d be better off listening to ‘Somersault’ or all of ‘When it Falls’.