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LPs from the Attic: The Godz — The Godz

August 16, 2010

The Godz -- The Godz (Casablanca, 1978)

The Godz: Rock n' Roll machines?

The Godz — The Godz (Casablanca, 1978)

”Looks can be deceiving.” “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

These are clichés, but they got that way for a reason: they contain an essential truth about the faultiness of judging something based solely on appearance.

It’s funny how that can work both ways. I’m a fan of graphic design, photography, and visual art, and, even in the digital age, I still think that the right album art makes a real contribution to musical expression. In other installments of “LPs from the Attic,” I’ve highlighted intriguing, indulgent, and inspiring album cover art that has graced long-players by the likes of Hawkwind, Captain Beefheart, and Chixdiggit, among others. Very often, the uniqueness of a record cover can be enough to catch my eye and invoke veneration of Mammon. If the cover is weird or incongruous or over-the-top–or beautiful and expertly crafted–I grab it, hoping something on the vinyl inside justifies the transaction.

Other times, I buy (used) records exclusively for the sheer ridiculousness/overwroughtness of the cover art, with no plan to ever listen to the music/product contained therein. Steve & Eydie, Herb Alpert, and Lou “Saloon Favorites” Stein have all put out records better suited for a frame than a turntable (at least from a visual art/graphic design standpoint).

I bought The Godz’ (no, not The Gods, unfortunately, who I wasn’t aware of  until later) self-titled debut strictly on the merits of its LP sleeve, which is utterly guffaw-inducing in its “artistic” presentation of hard-rock pomp as it morphed into hair metal. Yes, that is a flying golden chariot formed in part by a guitar neck. Yes, the band appears, in mulleted glory, as muscular drawings on the back cover.

I act innocent, like I didn’t know what I was getting into. But, I knew that Casablanca was the label owned and operated by KISS. I knew this would probably be good-time hard rock in much the same vein. You either love or hate this kind of stuff; for me it’s usually a mild/skeptical form of the latter. In this case, though….

The Verdict?

I wasn’t wrong about this album, nor was I right exactly. The music lives up to both front- and back-cover promises, for good and/or ill. If you are looking for a sleaze-rock throw-back kick, and you want a few more chord changes and more musicality, The Godz offer more of both than KISS, but less than AC/DC . The “Gotta Keep A Runnin'” video/song places the band precisely on the late-seventies rock map; the album cover does tell the story, and succinctly: Sometimes looks aren’t deceiving at all. Once I loosened up and remembered how big a fan I am of Dirty Deeds, the more I actually enjoyed communing, if only for a while, with The Godz.

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