As might be clear from their name (and the excellent track titles), Good Willsmith have a sense of humour. But on Things Our Bodies Used to Have they also show their serious side, with an extended suite of dense and hypnotic improvisation. They draw on noise, drone and free improv, blending loose synths, prog guitar solos and plenty of electronic bleeps and arpeggios. Pressed to limited clear vinyl LP by Umor Rex.
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- Things Our Bodies Used To Have by Good Willsmith
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Good Willsmith are improvising which is kinda what I do on the regular for Norman Records dot com in so far as I listen to records and then pretend to know what I’m talking about, but let’s pretend I do know what I’m talking about here, because I love Good Willsmith and I want you to as well. These drone pranksters have been here before, doing odd and incidental things for the wonderful Umor Rex, and the trio come together here to wind their usual collation of odd loops, icy synths and disparate voices and a plethora of sampled whines and extracts the band dabble in.
I like Good Willsmith; they fidget. Having never sat still in my life (I’m tapping my foot furiously right now, even though this song has a rhythm at half the pace), I appreciate how they’ll interrupt one of their cold ambient textures for a layer of doom chords and Earth-lite solos, or a gloopy beat, or the sound of tape being cut and pulled and torn apart. Through titles alone, you feel like the trio are talking at you, filtered none: “A Disease You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Killing Kids”, “Not Your Kids”, “But Someone Else’s Kids”. It’s rare improv feels this maximal, but even on something as simplistic as the setup of “Not Your Kids” -- some bleating synth lines, a laissez-faire beat and solos that do whatever the fuck they want -- it feels like they’re scorching the earth with what they got.
Like a beatless, screamless Prurient, the band spend the second side of their record locking into extended synth drones that unfold at the speed of dread. “What Goes In The Ocean Goes In You” slowly unfolds miserable melodies amidst its layers, eventually meeting a brick wall of terrified voices and dagger-stabbed synth. The band push against it with the curiously euphoric “Whales Sing Great Melodies With Fantastic Lyrics”, which again suggests their stilled ambience can be treated with a terse psychedelia. That this record comes together is a marvel, but as far as 2016 goes, this is the first record to get my blood rushing and my words gushing.
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