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Godley, Kevin: Muscle Memory

Muscle Memory has been something of a strange idea delivered through a long slog. Conceived as an album we’d first hear in 2018, the implosion of greed that PledgeMusic became first ran this album aground, but the intervention of independent UK label The state51 Conspiracy stepped in to pull the project afloat again. Manufacturing issues then delayed the voyage but finally, as 2020 drew to a close, the ex-10CC and Godley and Creme man, Kevin Godley managed to flex his muscles.

The idea had first been born when French producer Luke Mornay had dared ask the chart legend for words and a vocal melody to a track he’d created and with the results - “Expecting A Message” - being rather inspiring, the notion of a debut solo album was born. Godley sent out his message asking for strangers to write songs for him and, rather predictably, a huge amount of submissions appeared - 286 to be precise! Those offerings have been whittled down to the eleven presented here and maybe even more predictably, a strange concoction they come together to make. After all, the only cohesive element here is Godley and his voice… and what a voice that is, maybe not quite as heart wrenchingly clear and stark as it once was, but still enough to stop you in your tracks nonetheless. It’s a factor throughout, “Expecting A Message” an electronic melange that floats and stings as it meshes thumping bass beats with almost reggae like chords and Godley’s syrupy, yet still unsettling vocals. From there it’s clear that this journey is going to be a disjointed one, strums and 10CC like vocal surges sitting atop a barren structure that hints at something deeper as “5 Minutes Alone” intentionally unwinds as though a musical box has run out of clockwork.

I say that only Godley’s voice ties things together here but “Cut To The Cat” possibly highlights the other strand that pulls it all into one setting, namely Kevin Godley’s dissatisfaction and confusion with modern day life. Beware that this is definitely not a happy album, social media, business culture and the vapid view of the everyday masses all quite righty ridiculed as things unravel. “One Day”, along with one or two other moments, hint at a vocal languidness that Bowie could have easily brought to this material as Godley makes some reasonably inaccessible music feel almost hit worthy, but not quite.

There’s no denying that Muscle Memory makes for a tough experience to break down and I must admit that it’s a journey that I’m still undertaking. On occasion, I’ve felt that this album is a complete masterpiece and yet on my next visit things barely hold together. It’s a contradiction I can’t quite get around and yet, if nothing else, it insists I keep on trying. Maybe you will too?

Track Listing
1. Expecting A Message
2. The Ghosts of The Living
3. Hit The Street
4. The Bang Bang Theory
5. 5 Minutes Alone
6. Cut To The Cat
7. One Day
8. All Bones Are White
9. Periscope
10. Song Of Hate
11. Bulletholes In The Sky

Added: February 26th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Kevin Godley online
Hits: 198
Language: english

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