Up Off the Floor
God Lives Underwater
Locomotive Music/Megaforce Records
In the time since God Lives Underwater’s last album, 1998’s Life in the So-Called Space Age (A&M) came out, we’ve had one presidential election, another presidential campaign and a massive terrorist attack on U.S. soil. We’ve invaded two countries, learned to love The Sopranos and turned Paris Hilton into the most unlikely of all tabloid fodder. A lot’s changed over the course of six years.
A lot changed with God Lives Underwater over that span, as well. The band, which finally extracted itself from the 1998 collapse of A&M with this release, moves away from the Depeche Mode/Nine Inch Nails techno-pop-industrial of its previous records for a sound that sits closer to conventional rock. Sure, the electronics are still there – but they’re not as obvious, essential or commanding as they were on past efforts – but this time, front man David Reilly is ready to rock the house.
In doing so, he aligns himself again with icons of ’90s rock music, sounding either like a slightly roughed-up and less plastic version of Stabbing Westward or a benign, apologetic Marilyn Manson. That is to say that Up Off the Floor is a blend of bitter, angsty rock’n’roll with electronic flourishes and the occasional hook crammed in for good measure. Although rumbling synths and screaming synth noises make “Tricked” a bit more than standard-issue rock, it’s the song’s chugga-chugga rock riff, played through crackling distortion, of course, that gives the song its personality. “No Way (You Must Understand)” is, at its heart, a guitar-rocking number, though doses of electronic effects spice up the track with a pseudo-industrial front that’s reminiscent of Stabbing Westward’s hits such as “Save Yourself.” Meanwhile, the moody “White Noise” with its grinding guitars that delicately balance against a singsong vocal is what Marilyn Manson might sound like if he lost his obsession with drugs, the dark arts and other forms of toothless teenage angst.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to find Reilly isn’t a bundle of laughs on this album. While the album climaxes with the strangely upbeat “Positivity,” the rest explores all the self-loathing, desperation and confusion of the psychoses and imbalances of Pretty Hate Machine and vintage Sister Machine Gun.
Up Off the Floor can’t make a claim for originality – but, in 2004, can any band with shades of industrial in it do that? – but at least God Lives Underwater knows what it’s doing: Like the bittersweet post-industrial tunes that blasted in clubs 10 years ago, God Lives Underwater provides a voyeuristic look at hitting rock bottom – complete with searing guitars.
Original Date: 2004-00-00
Original URL: http://www.aversion.com/bands/reviews.cfm?f_id=1777