Music Review: Giuda, Speaks Evil

Published on December 29th, 2015 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Hanna

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Giuda’s third album, Speaks Evil, continues where their previous albums left off: the band is still making cheerful glam rock of the stomping, junkshop kind. Image-wise, they have moved away from their earlier Sharpie style, and gone for something more pared down, heavy on monochrome and denim. Now they look like Crushed Butler, or, if you’re in a bitchy mood, a lesbian mechanics’ union. In any case, they look authentic, and they sound authentic, too. If you play a lot of glam rock, this album will blend right into your playlists and nothing will remind you that this was made in 2015, even when–very occasionally–you wish it would.

The opening track, “Roll The Balls,” immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album. Despite the potential for ball jokes, it actually seems to be about rock ‘n’ roll as well as a silly mission statement about the band: “They ask in interviews, if I like drugs or I like booze, but I don’t dig that scene, cos I’m in love with aspirin!”

“It Ain’t Easy” sounds like “Cum On Feel The Noise” by Slade and is equally as fun. “Bad Days Are Back” is also great. It has a pounding chinnichap rhythm and lyrics about being played by a girl and feeling hard done by. “Momma Got The Blues” seems to be about an actual mother who feels sad about her son going wrong and sounds like a lost Suzi Quatro track.

“Watch Your Step” is another fun chinnichap style stomper, a sort of reworked version of the dance instructions songs that were popular in the 1970s. Eventually, though, it turns out the instructions are about avoiding getting beaten in some fashion, which is less fun.

“Working Class Man” is touching for the way it presents a view of the working class man as someone noble, who should be celebrated or at least respected. There is also a call for revolution which seems rather quaint in this day and age, though nice to hear, considering the economic situation in Southern European countries. The line “Working to live is good, living to work is bad” is a message everyone should hear.

“You Can Do Everything” is another combination of a message and music. It talks about how everything’s going to be OK, and about going after what you want, over a thumping Status Quo-style musical base. “My Lu” is, by comparison, not that interesting, although it fits Giuda’s style well with its early Slade sound, and has an extremely catchy chorus of na-na-na’s to make it memorable.

“Joolz” is a song about a badly adjusted boy. The vocals sound sweet and heartfelt, which contrasts with the silly lyrics. It sounds like a parody of misunderstood thug songs: “Joolz, little Joolz, they say you’re violent, because your whole intent is just to fight!”.

The closer, “Bonehead Waltz” is both clever and rather annoying. The time signature changes and funk influences are funny and clever, but the growling voice and cough effect are grating. The tone of the lyrics is difficult to pinpoint. On the one hand they consist of over the top, bragging threats, but on the other hand have an amusing perverted touch. When someone’s growling “Oh little boy, we gonna have some fun” and talks about hair pulling, what’s a girl to think? It’s true that this sort of hyperbolic, possibly jokey violence, especially linked with homosexuality in some way, is a trope in junkshop glam (e.g., the works of Grudge), but it doesn’t translate that well to the 21st century.

Most of Speaks Evil is just really fun. This is despite the unnecessary references to violence in several songs, which, though thematically appropriate, seem out of place in the upbeat, sometimes thoughtful and sometimes silly tone of the rest of the album. It’s great to puzzle out the references if you’re a glamrock buff, it’s fun to dance to if you’re not, and it combines a humorous tone with some moral messages.

Speaks Evil was released by Burning Heart Records on November 21.

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