The Governators – ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

Hailing from Dublin, The Governators are an independent rock outfit who have recently released their debut EP, a six track collection entitled ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs.’ Recorded as a DIY production, the effort was recorded and produced in a home studio, something that The Governators are rather humble about. In reality, however, the short album is remarkably well engineered for a home endeavor. Let’s dig into the six songs…

The Governators have a wonderful aura of indie rock and pop influence in their music. ‘Glory in the Fall,’ the album’s introduction, crafts its sound utilizing bubbly, but sparse synthesizers, reverberated guitars, and soft, crooning pop vocals. It’s a sound that’s perhaps reminiscent of the Jayhawks or the Proclaimers, though there’s a bit of Cure inspiration in there, too. Aside from a soft vocal mix, ‘Glory in the Fall’ sounds superb.

The small vocal faux pas of ‘Glory in the Fall’ is remedied on ‘Sweeter End,’ a song that’s arguably the EP’s best selection. The song’s infectious guitar riff, upbeat percussion, and fantastic lead vocals make it entirely unforgettable. This is a track that will surely drive one insane, for one will be humming it down the street for weeks to come. ‘Sweeter End’ is well-produced, foot-tapping rock and roll with a wonderful helping of pop influence dabbled throughout.

The Governators continue strong on ‘Baby Baby Please,’ a song that takes the duo’s vocal harmonies to a whole new level. There’s hints of an Everly Brothers influence at play here, and it’s just splendid. The song is quick: wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. There’s something admirable about snappy, punchy tracks like ‘Baby Baby Please.’ There just aren’t enough of them anymore.

‘Entwined (Hand in Hand)’ is a much more complex endeavor than its predecessor, but it’s fascinating territory for The Governators. It’s a more intimate ballad, one that’s suited well by bouts of acoustic instrumentation and analog scratches. (Though I question if those are purely aesthetic, added in post instead of naturally via analog recording.) ‘You Are My Baby’ then follows – a spiritual successor to ‘Baby Baby Please,’ I’d argue. It’s a brilliant tune, and ‘Entwined’ is a perfect segway in between the two.

‘Yolo Mofo’ then ends the album with a joyfully ridiculous finale full of bombastic “la la” choruses. As a singular entity, it might lack some direction, but as a bookend to a collection of quirky, but lovely songs, it’s right at home. Through and through, ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs’ is well worth a listen.

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