The slight stumble of the keys greets us in God of Love’s “If Today Doesn’t Last” as if to suggest that the road ahead of us in the new album Do Your Worst is quite treacherous when it’s in fact as smooth sailing as it gets in indie rock these days. Acerbically somber from the get-go, “If Today Doesn’t Last” advertises bittersweet commiseration only to turn us over to the guiding light of a synth rocker in “Do You See That Light” which I wouldn’t describe as pure gloom and doom. Do Your Worst features a lot of commentaries, but as far down the tunnel it travels, it always maintains a light at the end of the darkness for both us and God of Love to remain in pursuit of.
“Green Eyes Black Night” has a sensuous pulse that immediately made it one of my favorite songs on the album, and when coupled with the haunting harmonies of the dark thruster “Black Beyond,” alternative rock fans would be crazy to dismiss this LP as merely a series of nine lucky hits in an era where tracklists are hardly filler-free. There’s a ton of excess and bloated sonic indulgence in the likes of “Dallas Skyline,” but it doesn’t feel completely pointless when taking in how much contrast our singer is drawing off of the liberal instrumentation around him. He’s using everything at his disposal to immerse us in his emotional state, which takes a lot out of an artist – though you’d never know that here.
Do Your Worst’s best song is arguably “Take You Seriously,” a groove-happy cross between the punchy noise-rock of the early ‘90s and a straight-up synth-pop fantasy that normally wouldn’t boast as much of a blues swing as this performance does. It’s complicated and willfully contradictory, and something about its flouting of the rulebook makes it not only appealing to my rebellious side but a good example of bold harmonies working better outside of the mainstream model than they ever would have within. “Fingers Crossed” is a little retro-simple by comparison, but hey – next to a powerful demonstration of determination and sonic wit like this one, there isn’t very much that wouldn’t have sounded a bit underwhelming.
“Wedding of the Century” pummels us with its industrial beats, but its segue into the acoustic “Where I Go At Night” is seamless, if not a little jarring to those not anticipating the temperature change. As God of Love’s new album wraps up and leaves us with the statements it hurls both pleasantly and desperately in songs like “Do You See That Light” and the aforementioned treasure “Take You Seriously,” it’s easy to question why this act hasn’t gotten as much love from the indie press as this record most definitely warrants. Do Your Worst is brutally honest and diary-like in what it sees its singer confiding in the audience, but it’s also a rather cleansing affair if you need something – or even someone – to share a late evening beside the strings with.
by Jennifer Munoz