B-Side: When Am I Coming Down
Maybe it's appropriate that this record comes hot on the heals of The Animals (see previous entry), because although 25 years separate them both bands are cut from the same cloth. Both has a no nonsense, back-to-basics sound that is reliant upon years of tradition, both have strong, passionate vocalists, both have a well-groomed, and suited look belying much of the aggression within. The sound of alternative music in 1988 was (if you looked in the NME, Melody Maker or Sounds) was quite fuzzy, often drowned in layers of sound with frequently fey and airy vocals, against this backdrop The Godfathers were a breath of fresh air, and their album of 1988 "Birth, School, Work, Death" was a particular favourite of mine. They provided a hard blast of uncomplicated that didn't wander of into the more self-indulgent sides of hard rock and metal.
'Cause I Said So is self-confidant and arrogant, and with a title like that it needs to be, or it just wouldn't work. There's an argument that this record is anti-intellectualism and pro-ignorance, positing that the school-of-hard-knocks education is the one that matters. I don't see it this way - much more they are criticising those who spend all their time on detailed over-analysis on things like "Baudelaire's poetry", and aren't using their intelligence on the practicalities of life. In the end though this is a moot point, because, ultimately 'Cause I Said So rocks! Peter Coyne's vocals area an audible sneer, and in the end it really does't matter if we like this record - he knows it's great and that's all that matters.
It's an entirely different story on the b-side and the brashness has become an uneasy question - When Am I Coming Down? I'm going to go ahead and assume that that is a drugs reference - but I don't know if the narrator has taken them willingly, or has had them forced upon him. It's an odd feeling because, just from the a-side of this record we've become used to a confidant, arrogant voice, now here he is sounding lost and confused. It really doesn't suit him at all. When Am I Coming Down has all the vague musical trappings of many late 60's hippy songs - but doesn't go all out for them I suppose you could call it Slightlydelic. It's the wrong sound for this band though - especially in isolation as a b-side. It worked better on the original album where it finished the first side, and then you could come out of the fog into more songs like 'Cause I Said So. But here it feels wrong.
In the end this record has a great a-side which more than compensates for the misjudged b-side.
Next time something a bit jazzier...