Lift up your fists and fight my boy, for today, you become a man…

America has held a strong monopoly in the recent resurgence of great hardcore/post-hardcore music. Pianos Become The Teeth have become the band that all upcoming melodic hardcore bands try to be. Touché Amore has blown up to insane levels. Defeater, La Dispute, Frameworks, The Saddest Landscape, State Faults, the list goes on!

Though some great bands are flying the flag for UK hxc, to name but a few, More Than Life, Departures and Bastions, none have made a huge impact on an international level. This is where Bridge 9’s Goodtime Boys come in. Anyone involved in the genre will know Goodtime Boys are the UK’s answer to PBTT. To this point their music has shared a lot of similarities, powerful emotionally driven vocals and hard-hitting soundscapes contrasted with lush instrumental moments. This has been to their aid and detriment, there is only so long you can carry that kind of burden until you need to become your own man.

On Rain, they have well and truly done so. They are like the kid at school that over the summer grew a manly beard; voice dropped to Barry White levels of low and then started stealing all your girlfriends. Though the progress on this LP is almost indistinguishable on first listen, the more you spin, the more apparent it becomes. Everything has been tightened and tweaked to perfection.

Their songwriting is the best it has ever been; there is no wasted space anywhere on the album. On past releases, there was a tendency from the band to meander, sometime losing focus or drive, but on Rain everything serves to the build of the song. Only one song is longer than 4 minutes, every other track is either 2 or 3. This refined approach has really given them their own sound and has helped to craft some of the best melodic hardcore I have put ear to in years.

‘Wallflower’ is a prime example of their developing identity, the song is a battering ram to the ears, but all the elements that we have come to love from the band are built into a neat song structure. Rich soundscapes support the tortured vocals and lead into a powerful, clean plucked clean vocal moment. This is the moment the band lays their first of many knockouts.

One of the biggest successes is Alex’s vocal delivery; he has developed an ability to deliver screams with varying levels of melody and velocity, crucially carving a sound that is all their own. He has also managed to avoid the usual guillotine for a lot of similar bands, the dreaded clean vocal. He delivers a unique clean vocal that is almost as raw as his scream, it’s refreshing to hear delivery in this genre that isn’t over produced, and it sounds and feels fresh.

The best example of the this growing identity is on ‘Newspaper Sky’, the instrumentation is luxurious as Alex delivers vocals almost as spoken word leading into my favourite musical moment to date from these boys, “Growing new colours in your old eyes. Newspaper grey to match the granite skyline… This is a cruel world but for now this world is mine.” He howls in what will be his trademark melodic scream, before the band erupts behind him. In this moment you realize that we are witnessing the birth of a new beast.

If Goodtime Boys can build upon the progress of Rain, not only will they be seen as a household name in the hardcore scene alongside the likes of Touché Amore and Piano’s Become The Teeth, but also it will instead be young American kids trying to imitate them in the coming years. It is fair to say, these boys just became men.