‘Are you ready?’ Jody Turner screams as this album kicks in. 32 years after their third album Rock Goddess are back with a fourth. It’s been on repeat in my car for a week.
This Time features the original Rock Goddess line-up of the Turner sisters, guitarist/singer Jody and powerhouse drummer Julie, along with bassist Tracey Lamb. Soundwise it is still the classic NWOBHM power trio of the early 80s, but better.
It’s a simple formula, chunky riffs and shoutalong fist-punching choruses. A careful listen reveals depths that list RG above the herd. Take track two ‘Obsession’ where the riff pushes into Julie’s drum patterns at just the right point to emphasise a sense of pressure. Or the brief rumble of Tracey’s bass lifting Jody’s solo in ‘Why Do We Never Learn?’ Throughout the album I’m increasingly aware of the fluidity of Julie’s drumming. Rarely flamboyant but almost always nuanced and pinning everything above it in place. Mixing Tracey’s bass high helps too.
Then there’s the more melodic ‘Drive Me Away’ that almost but doesn’t quite break into an epic ballad album closer.
The other thing that lifts Rock Goddess above many others is the tenor of Jody Turner’s lyrics. Even back in her teens she explored a strong woman’s perspective on flawed relationships. Here she asserts her independence on ‘Flying To See You’ and turns the tables on ‘It’s My Turn’. Not clichéd man-hating or simple role reversal Jody’s characters reveal weakness as well as strengths, are driven by self-esteem more than rage.
Young Jody, although a distinctive vocalist, was occasionally prone to overdone screaming. This time she’s more in control, gravelly and breathy in turn, but belting the choruses.
It’s not the perfect album, ‘Why Do We Never Learn’ is probably the weakest song, despite the aforementioned solo. I like ‘Calling To Space’ but can’t quite work out what it’s saying. There’s a bit of repetition but simplicity can work, and many acclaimed albums are less varied. Quibbles though. This is an album I expect to keep coming back to when I need some classic new wobbum rawk!
And I am so looking forward to hearing these songs live this week.