The noise rock act God Alone’s new record, Bent Shoulders, provides a dozen tracks of emotional and, more specifically, artistic release.
The album feels more focused on bursts of songwriting than on tying internal themes either together or to something outside the record’s confines. Bent Shoulders takes normal, perhaps sometimes mundane circumstances and moods and turns them into inviting songs. It shoots up, in a sense, rather than down; instead of taking a grandiose concept and trying to fit it into an everyday life, the record takes what feels like the bursts of everyday life and turns them into a collection of songs.
To be clear, though, the songs feel complex. The band does not share simplified music, and instead sounds very pleasantly liberated from conventional repetition and mimicry. We know as people living here on earth that our lives have layers upon layers, no matter the circumstances, and the songs on Bent Shoulders both reflect and respect those layers. In one sense, the music is indeed “noise rock,” grinding in and out of melodic ideas without much apparent restraint, but it also incorporates more nuanced moods. At times, extended instrumental parts evoke emotion all on their own.
God Alone features members of the popular metalcore act The Devil Wears Prada. Mike Hranica of TDWP sings for the band, and Kyle Sipress, also of TDWP, plays with the noise rock outfit as well. Strikingly, although Hranica rarely crosses over into screaming and God Alone’s music takes experimentation in a different direction than the heaviness of TDWP’s work, there is a parallel worth exploring.
Songs on TDWP’s 2016 record, Transit Blues,like “To The Key Of Evergreen” incorporate intertwined textures and pangs of emotion in similar fashion to Bent Shoulders. Hranica and his collaborators with both God Alone and TDWP feel as though they have wrested themselves free from a musical straitjacket and are following the path of their musical inspiration wherever it leads.
Hranica actually wrote an article for Revolver at the end of 2017 summarizing his favorite records from the year and included releases from bands like Big Brave, King Woman, and Cloakroom. Each one of those bands sticks out because of their willingness to buck artistic restraint and standard, taking their music into explorative territory and crafting something human. God Alone take on a similar challenge.