Godstopper’s Empty Crawlspace was one of my favorite discoveries of last year. I’ll be honest, I’m struggling with “Everybody Writes Good Songs,” the first recording they’ve released since then. It is for sure a less immediate song than the brilliant “Clean House” – Mike Simpson’s vocal melody seems so listless, and the strange guitar figures that creep in feel so distant from the weight of that single doom riff that goes through the second half.

Godstopper write songs like few other bands. They’re developing and layering ideas instead of writing linear chains of riffs and melodies. It can be difficult to listen to, because we have so few of the normal signposts of songwriting (verse, chorus, harmonic variation) to go by. But after about five listens, the song begins to sink in on an emotional level. Methinks the melody and lyric are intentionally constricted, representative of the surface-level bullshit we tell ourselves and others to keep the darkness inside at bay. Those weird guitar figures are the cracks in the surface; the repetitive doom riff is the darkness forcing its way up through the fissures. Around 3:20, the melody comes back in slightly twisted form, and Simpson’s repetitive gasping of “she’s so much smarter than me” takes on a freaky obsessional tone.

I’m still not sure what the hell is going on in the video clip for “Everybody Writes Good Songs,” directed by Canadian filmmaker Justin Oakey (who also directed Godstopper’s “Clean House” clip, and a number of other riveting music videos viewable here). Simpson explains that “It has to do with themes of alienation, (lack of) determination, and a general vibe of being “left behind,” which are all running themes in the band’s music.” If any of y’all are able to pick any of that out from Oakey’s fractured narrative, you’re more astute viewers than I. But it sure is unsettling, and in that regard if no other it’s a fine match for this song.

Godstopper is currently in the studio recording material for a full-length, which they’re aiming to release in June.

Visit Justin Oakey’s Tumblr page here.

Download Godstopper’s “Everybody Writes Good Songs” for free here.


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