I could wax poetic about Godford all day, but I probably couldn’t give a better description of their music than their own. On their Bandcamp page, the elusive electronic artist writes: “I’m in the middle of that bridge between innocent romantic and rave. I don’t want to choose between those two feelings. Music, in general, is a non-binary place where everyone can express their deepest feelings.” This theme is woven explicitly into Godford’s music—after all, their 2020 debut record was called Non-Binary Place. It was an album of dancefloor bangers with a romantically-tinged edge, full of warm, enveloping synths and ear-wormy vocal samples. It was light and breezy without being too cute for its own good.
The new LP, I You She, follows in the same vein as Non-Binary Place, but the music is a little less breezy in places. That’s not to say it’s less beautiful—it’s just a bit more abrasive. That was evident from the first single, “The Beast”, where the only discernible lyric is “run from the beast”, a vocal sample cut up and sped up to give the track a fractured and explosive feel. The pitch-shifted vocals veer between a masculine voice and feminine voice, touching on the delicate, gender-bending balance at the heart of Godford’s music.
The title track may be the most aggressive moment of all. It’s led by a heavy, ominous bassline and a commanding male voice repeating “do it now” over pummeling kick drums. Yet Godford always knows when to supplement four-on-the-floor aggression with moments of respite—the chorus here is driven by a bright, summery synth lead that feels like a musical eye of the storm. “High and Lonely” gets into hip-hop territory, a fractured rap vocal playing over rapid snare hits and fat, squirming bass. It’s more precarious than anything on Non-Binary Place, an experiment in controlled chaos.
“The Hill” is probably the album’s catchiest track, its beautiful male vocals echoing over a classic house groove and subdued four-note keyboard refrain. “Understanding” begins as a guitar-driven pop song and plunges into drum ‘n’ bass territory. Then, the tempo suddenly switches at the end, and the whole track starts playing in slow motion. The tempo change offers the perfect lead-in to the next song, “Enemy”, a straight-up summery dream pop, lazy-day guitar work paired with minimal drums. The album’s end is defined by its breezy guitars, a marked shift from Godford’s past music.
In many ways, it’s a bit ironic that I You She came out in December. Based on its beachy covert art and often-summery instrumentals, this album feels made more for summertime. But maybe that’s the point—I You She is supposed to be there in the colder and darker seasons when we all really need it. It’s uplifting music, the kind we can appreciate more when the world around us isn’t uplifting. Godford’s latest album is one for the romantic ravers, the ones who come to the dancefloor not just for shits and kicks but genuine joy and beauty.