Yeah, that title was a pun when I reviewed the american poetry club album. Makes less logical sense now, admittedly, but I like it. Hey! Two album reviews this year! Getting into some real Lestor Bangs territory now! This blog is fucking legit, yeah?
We* far too readily accept that whatever we do is simply good enough. We** accept what we are able to do at a scandalously young age. At the very latest when we’re about 18 or 19 and first enter university believing we’re already the finished article and want to spend the next few years convincing other people how fucking amazing we are, usually under the assumption that it’ll lead to increased opportunities to rub our genitalia against somebody else. Often though, it happens much, much younger. Many of the people you pass on the street, many of your closest friends and family, many of the people weird and/or dumb enough to read this very blog, basically decided at about 13 years old that you know all the things you can and can’t do, your likes and dislikes. You*** decided at that age that you shouldn’t really waste time overloading your dumb brain with any new talents or inspirations, so decided to spend the rest of your life getting angry and other people for not accepting you for who you are (and have been for decades).
(*by ‘we’ I mean dirty stinking humans
**the dirty stinking humans
*** ‘you’ being, of course, a dirty stinking human)
This evading of self-improvement and evolution (which I… might… have talked about in my Hinds review last year. I honestly can’t remember, and it’s been a while since I read that) can sometimes unfortunately seep into art. If you get really good- and really successful- at painting watercolour portraits of chimpanzees masturbating*, then you’re likely just to rest on your laurels and simply live off the proceeds of your masturbating chimp paintings for the rest of your life. Many artists take the Oasis route- release one outstanding painting of a masturbating chimp, follow it up quickly with a mildly inferior (but financially way more successful) replica of that masturbating chimp, then spend the rest of their careers simply releasing less and less successful masturbating chimp paintings. Hey, that masturbating chimp painting analogy is fucking golden, don’t question it.
This temptation to shun ambition can frequently be observed in the real independent music scene. Artists who are genuinely talented and capable of producing captivating and notable music occasionally get stuck in a bit of a rut. Except, not in the traditional sense. They start off in that rut, then choose to stay encased in it for fear of how they’ll be considered after they venture out of its safe rutty ruttiness. Often, an artist manages to make a brilliantly idiosyncratic debut release, admirably pieced together in their bedroom with little more than a plastic spoon, an iPhone 4 and their uncle’s old mandolin. The audio quality makes the record sound like the artist sung every line while encased in angry jelly, and track four is borderline unlistenable because you can hear the artist’s cat getting its tail caught in the printer next door. But there’s something there! There’s an obvious talent that shines through despite the lowest-possible-fi recording. Real genius and ability shines through.
The artist posts it to Bandcamp. It makes a bit of money. The artist can afford better equipment. Now what do they do?
However, I worry that some artists choose to present their music in a low fidelity, bedroom made style because they’re worried about how it will be judged when all the fuzziness and distortion and cat/photocopier squeals are removed. I worry that some musicians worry that presenting their music in a more mainstream fidelity will see them compared with ‘real’ musicians like Paul Weller or Ricky Martin or Shania Twain. They’re worried that, once the countless layers of DIY pantaloons are stripped away, suddenly their shivering little genitalia will be left flapping in the wind* and it will be found wanting
The greatest thing about ‘No More Frontiers’ is that it finds Govier (remember him? I might have mentioned him about 1000 words ago) being refreshingly unafraid of ambition and absolutely wanting his album to be considered as legitimate and as ‘mainstream’ as possible.
‘No More Frontiers’ sounds… lovely… The songs melt out of the speakers and Govier has enough (justified) faith in his songs to want them presented in as pristine a style as possible. He knows that his songs will stand up to any fidelity’s investigation, and is unafraid to embellish them with the odd stylised guitar solo or catchy synth line*. Now, when songs are coated in lo-fi production like Curtains Close, it’s more obviously a stylistic choice and works well as almost a juxtaposition from the album’s other tracks. ‘No More Frontiers’ is, ultimately, a marked and admirable evolution and progression from his last album. This is all we need sometimes: an artist noticeably evolving and improving as they advance. As Jonathan Swift once said, ‘Respect motherfucking progression, yo!!‘.
When I ‘reviewed’ his (very good) previous album- ‘Metal Target‘- last year, I (correctly) stated that Mr. Govier was (and I quote) ‘pretty special’. I (wisely. Fuck, a lot of parenthesis in this paragraph. Parenthesises? Parenthasi?) predicted that Govier would ‘blow us all away at some point in the future’. I knew back then that Govier had the talent, the ability and the general understanding to one day soon release a record that would perfectly combine all of his talents and maybe, just maybe, change the world for the better and mark a new stage of musical evolution.
And I’m pleased to announce that ‘No More Frontiers’ is… is… not quite that album.
It’s very, very good. It’s a marked improvement on his (already very good) last record, and introduces facets to his sound that suggest amazing things in the future. The outro to Falling Apart alone shows wonderful capacity for sonic experimentation when it suits him, while the ‘wah-uh-wah-uh-wah’ coda of Pressure Washer and the strings at the end of Jedi Mind Trick are absolute delights. One of Govier’s chief talents has always been his way with wry and occasionally devastating lyrical flourishes. While there’s nothing here to match the ‘I’m afraid of getting cancer/And you probably should be too’ opening salvo of his last album’s title track, there are few artist’s you can imagine opening an album with ‘My parents overall did a good job raising me/There were a few thrown punches between and my dad/But he gave the endeavour all that he had’.
I know, I know, complaining about Govier being a little too concerned with the more unassuming parts of life rather than tackling more weighty issues is like complaining that Barry White is a bit obsessed with copulation or the Cookie Monster is a little too preoccupied with cookies. It’s kind of his gimmick. I get it. It’s just that the ten tracks here maybe lack the big emotional whoomph that the title track provided on his last album.
Instead, we get a song about how much he loves his dog. Which is… yeah… fine, who doesn’t? I thought at first it might be some metaphor for a close friend or some emotional support, but… ‘Runs around the house and pees on whatever he can… Licks up the grease and puts his nose in his ass’… sounds like a dog to me. And Jesus, no adult song should contain the line ‘Licks his pooper once he’s done taking a deuce’…
Also, this is fucking bothering me. That song is about a dog called ‘Buscemi’, which, yeah, Govier’s definitely the type of guy who’d call his dog ‘Buscemi’. But on his Bandcamp avatar, we’re presented with this:
Who the fuck is Lucy?? How does she relate to Buscemi, and why are you so sad?! What are you hiding Govier?? #GovierDogTruther
Also, he claims that ‘Buscemi you’re the greatest ever dog’, which is obviously buillshit. the greatest dog ever was Rogen. Sniff…
In the end, I’ll give ‘No More Frontiers’ three and a half dog’s bollocks, but as an obvious evolution and artistic marker, it’s an absolute success and more evidence of a great emerging talent
Sure, you can all play it on Spotify and kindly allow him to get 0.004p for his work, but pay a bit of money and actually buy the album from his Bandcamp page, you cheap pieces of shit.
Fuck, I really hate that cover though…