“This Is Our Way Out” EP – Goodluck Jonathan

4 stars (out of 5)

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“This Is Our Way Out” is the first EP from the Brighton-based 5-piece Goodluck Jonathan (inspired by the current Nigerian President, or just a coincidence?) and it’s a very interesting box of tricks. Like most interesting bands, they’re difficult to define precisely. The basic feel lyrically is indie nudging towards emo but musically they cut across a range of styles from the spiky, 2 guitar indie sound (going back through Franz Ferdinand all the way to Television) to seriously heavy metal riffing. You even get a power ballad for the final track.

“Bruises Disappear”, the first track, starts with a spiky delay guitar intro and is a pretty good summary of the dynamics of the EP with an ethereal angelic choir on the heavy metal chorus, a spoken megaphone section and a power-riff section to finish. What sets this track apart from the rest of the EP is the political reference in the 2 spoken sections to refugee camps in Calais being destroyed by the authorities. It’s unusual but welcome in this setting.

“Stranded” kicks off with a nice bit of guitar feedback before dropping in to familiar emo/indie territory of a broken relationship with singer Nick Brookes sounding very like Jamie T, particularly during the first breakdown. The second breakdown drops briefly to half-time before the big finish with all guns blazing.

“Broken Heart” is next – guess what that one’s about. The intro builds up from guitars to drums and even a bit of synth for atmosphere. The vocal is a bit Jamie T again although this time with an unexpected vulnerability and maybe the megaphone vocal is a bit overdone. That’s not to say it spoils the track, because it doesn’t.

And finally, “Light Burn My Eyes” which starts with an understated guitar arpeggio intro before developing into a power ballad. The vocal this time sounds much more like an early East End boy Steve Marriott, much more convincing than on the earlier tracks.

As a first release, this is an interesting introduction which shows Goodluck Jonathan to really good effect. The band use dynamics really effectively with breakdowns and tempo changes emphasising the light and shade of the songs. When you add the hooks from the 2 guitars, it’s a compelling mix which is definitely worth a listen. The lyrics for 3 of the songs are relatively standard emo/indie fare, but the political aspect of “Bruises Disappear” sets it apart from the rest. This is a good sampler which grabs your interest and leaves you wanting more; job done.