God Lives Underwater
Life In The So-Called Space Age Review from MTV.com
God Lives Underwater is a Los-Angeles-by-way-of-Pennsylvania duo that plays “”hardware-generated”” music on electronic instruments, with some guitars thrown in. On their second full-length release, God Lives Underwater (comprised of Jeff Turzo and David Reilly) creates a full frontal assault with aggro-electronic riffery and balances things out with subverted pop songform. Far from the realm of straight techno, God Lives Underwater tends to use vocals as much as they embrace technology in their sound.
Energetic and occasionally even poppy, GLU is not afraid to make danceable, good-time music amidst the squall. In the opening song, “”Rearrange,”” they embrace an early Sabbath/Nugent-styled grind with a wicked industrial bent. In “”From Your Mouth,”” Dave Reilly’s singing is almost pretty, while a computerized funk melody squiggles and squirms underneath. In some ways, this band can be reminiscent of English gloom-romantics like Depeche Mode or Soft Cell. Dramatic, impassioned, and eerily insular, they build looming songs around stern vocal tracks and thick studio embellishments. While Turzo and Reilly may be quite serious about capturing a big, bruising sound, the relentless nature of their heavier tunes can be a bit overpowering. But when they embrace more soulful material like the song “”Behavior Modification,”” GLU can be a tuneful little electro-pop ensemble.
It wouldn’t be completely surprising if God Lives Underwater managed to score a crossover hit with Life In The So-Called Space Age. Songs like “”Dress Rehearsal”” contain huge slabs of the monomaniacal riffs that always seem to find their way into the consciousness of wasted youth. Inhabiting a fine middle ground between alternative rock and distorted electronic pop, God Lives Underwater waxes totally poetic on the song “”Happy.”” With a sweet, surreal melody juxtaposed against an echoing, synthesized drone, this tune extends the sonic concepts that Jesus And Mary Chain originally stole from the Beach Boys and then breaks the mold into a thousand little electronic pieces.
The combination of painstakingly crafted electronic instrumentation, ambitious, accessible tunes, and imposing aural moods gives GLU a fairly distinctive identity. While their vocal chops are not always what you’d call compelling, they are earnest and fraught with drama. How could you not respect a band that closes out their CD with a song titled “”Medicated To The One I Love””? In the final analysis, God Lives Underwater is an unusually creative duo that inhabits a musical world all their own. You may not always want to go there, but it’s good to know it exists.
—Mitch Myers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Original Date: 2001-02-23