GØGGS - Pre-Strike Sweep - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

GØGGS - Pre-Strike Sweep

by Texacaliago Rating:6 Release Date:2018-09-28
GØGGS - Pre-Strike Sweep
GØGGS - Pre-Strike Sweep

Considering the multitude of Ty Segall solo albums and various associated side projects, it’s understandable that some of his bands invariably get lost in the mix when discussing the best of the lot in his massive discography.

Such seemed to be the case when his latest side project GØGGS released their (pretty killer) debut album back in 2016. While it was greeted with generally positive reviews, it somewhat surprisingly didn’t make much of a splash or impact outside of the psych-rock scene Segall is largely associated with. That’s probably because it was one of the heavier products Segall had ever released (much to the delight of this reviewer), but I suppose it’s also fathomable that a hard-hitting and aggressive noise-punk album may not be everyone’s cup of tea (not to mention it was probably overshadowed by his brilliant Emotional Mugger LP released earlier in 2016, but I digress).

That said, for what it was, GØGGS debut was overall pretty excellent, featuring waves of crashing, noisy riffs and bursting at the seams with a hostile intensity, thanks largely to frontman Chris Shaw from Ex-Cult helming the mic. When coupled with Segall’s propensity for cooking-up some big and nasty hooks, their debut album proved to be quite an inciting concoction of raw and psych-tinged noise-punk.

Arriving two years later, GØGGS has returned with their sophomore release Pre-Strike Sweep, which finds the band somewhat struggling to build upon the template they established on their debut. Although there are a few satisfying ragers on here like the opening track “Killing Time” (which starts with a deceptive/eyebrow-raising acoustic guitar), the standout title track, or the all too brief “Space Rinse”, for the most part, the album too often fails to live up to the intensity-level established by its predecessor. In essence, Pre-Strike Sweep seems to dabble a little too much on the noisier/scuzzier side of the spectrum as opposed to delivering the type of rhythmic stomp and waves of feedback-drenched riffs that characterized most of their debut. It also seems to be missing the general propulsive nature that powered most of the songs on their first album, which kept things moving at an energetically brisk and invigorating pace. Instead, we have more than a few directionless jams like the grimy “Vanity” or the grating “Ruptured Line” that never really seem to coalesce into anything particularly enjoyable, emphatic, memorable, or satisfying. Although those type of tunes generally compliment the scuzzy personality of the album (and the band at large), they also don’t exactly compel a visceral reaction like most of the songs from their debut did.

Haven said that, at their core, the band’s patented sound remains essentially the same, and one could make the argument that Pre-Strike Sweep is simply just a more nuanced version of their debut. But for this reviewer anyway, GØGGS always struck me as a band that has a lot of potential to create something uniquely nasty. An opportunity for Segall to truly tap into his scuzziest and heaviest inclinations, and with the help of Shaw’s aggressive rawness on the mic, to potentially conjure up something compellingly intense and infectious.

Unfortunately, though, Pre-Strike Sweep ultimately plays it pretty safe on those fronts, but it doesn’t seem like it was necessarily a conscious decision so much as it was just a byproduct of the general aimlessness and lack of conviction/intensity/focus that seems to characterize the album as a whole. And that’s a shame for a band that seemingly has a lot of potential to cook up something truly wicked.

So, while not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, Pre-Strike Sweep can’t help but feel at least a little underwhelming and mildly disappointing, especially considering the strength of their debut. Here’s hoping they come back with a stronger and more focused effort should they decide on a third record in the future. This reviewer, for one, will be looking forward to it.

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