“Record” Review: Peter Godwin – Sky Falls

Zenda Records | DL | 2012

Peter Godwin: Sky Falls DL [2012]

  1. Sky Falls

One can’t be connected everywhere at once, but the manifold benefits of a Discogs.com account is that your dashboard page there will display new releases to the database from artists connected to your collection. Such as it was yesterday that I discovered that longtime favorite Peter Godwin had unleashed a new download for fans to purchase. I wasted no time in opening iTunes and buying it right then and there. I may be laboring under a diminished budget these days, but when the time comes that I can’t spare a loose dollar for a new song by Peter Godwin, who has decade long lapses in his recording career, it’ll be a sad day indeed!

Even though The Monk lives in a self-enforced state of media denial, it’s all but impossible not to know that there’s a new James Bond movie coming out soon called “Sky Fall” judging from the torrent of hype on the BBC News website where I get most of my news from. It’s apparent from the first chords following the drum intro that this track is Godwin’s take on a theme for the new opus. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that this was his rejected demo submitted to Danjaq LLC as the feeding frenzy around a new Bond theme built to a head this year. I try to stay deliberately ignorant of these things, but I did know that songstress Adele won the brass ring in that little heated competition. No shocks there. Apparently issuing her releases are the closest thing to printing money in these, the end times of the music industry. Hey, I still haven’t heard her. I’ll bet I’m missing nothing.

Back to the song at hand! The end result echoes the guiding hand of the late John Barry most expertly, while Godwin has always had a penchant for the sort of Continental chanson that also informed the best Bond themes. The almost subliminal fuzzed synth bass is nicely contrasted with solo violin for the perfect old world ambience meets modern world vibe that marks a successful Bond theme. Godwin’s singing is typically low key, and that’s possibly why this fine effort is not the official track; Bond themes are known for vocal pyrotechnics [no matter if the singer is capable or not, eh Mr. LeBon?] and in this area Godwin never ventures. He fully believes that discretion is the better part of valor and would look askance at belting a song out. Mr. Godwin prefers to ride a song like a kite; floating as high as possible with a minimal effort. Less is often more.

As a faux Bond theme, this one is great; actually better than many Bond themes you couldn’t name. It traffics in high-stakes melodrama while never pandering, a major trait of Godwin’s musical DNA. It might be an interesting project to compile all of the demos submitted but rejected as official Bond themes over the years. This Salon Des Refusés De La Musique De Bond  would probably be more vital and interesting than any Bond themes released after 1971! At the end of the day, all of Mr. Godwin’s fans should be heading to their preferred music site [Amazon or iTunes] to purchase this song swiftly to add to their still-too-meager Peter Godwin collections. The man seems to be warming up to self-releasing his music digitally and he should be strongly encouraged to continue in this vein. An EP worth of tunes in 1998 on a compilation, a download album by Neuvo in 2010, and two songs this year are hardly enough payoff for 30 years of fandom.

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8 Responses to “Record” Review: Peter Godwin – Sky Falls

  1. Echorich says:

    Thanks Monk for cluing me in on this wonderful song! I agree that Godwin has always treated his voice as a instrument in the mix rather than sung over the top of the music, but he remains, for me, one of the stand out voices of the 80’s new wave. Images of Heaven, Babies in the Mountains and The Art of Love are special because of his voice.
    Bond producers missed an opportunity here. Obviously, they would go for an artist of the moment and Adele fits that bill perfectly, but Godwin’s song would have made an impressive outro or end credits selection.
    As for the other release this year, Disguise, I love the Indo-Eastern flavor which harkens back to those early 80’s releases. The synth work is lovely as well. I hope there is some more released from his recent activity.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Well, we vote with our dollar! I kind of enjoy this post-album era in that a favorite artist can release a DL every 3-5 months and there’s always the budget to buy it immediately! It is a well done song, yes? Perhaps a bit too sophisticated for an actual Bond theme. Godwin sings with integrity; always serving the song rather than his ego.

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      • Echorich says:

        I agree. If an artist I enjoy makes what he/she/they feels is a track that should be released, I am going to investigate and purchase. I see a number of groups and artists are heading towards the Pledge Music angle to release music which would otherwise take lots of negotiating to see light of day. I have pledged and received Ian McCulloch’s latest solo album as well as Wil Sargent’s latest through Pledge Music. I pledged to the latest Brand New Heavies album as well.
        As for Godwin being maybe too sophisticated for Bond, I think in this millennium you are probably right. I wonder though if it wouldn’t have been perfect in the John Barry (pre Sheena Easton/Duran Duran) Era.
        My favorite “maybe they did get it right” Bond pick was going with A-ha for The Living Daylights over Pet Shop Boys. The PSB offer is pretty readily available on the inter web and seems to have absolutely no resemblance to a soundtrack song – let alone a Bond Theme.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – PSB have a leaked, rejected Bond theme? Who knew? can’t say that I thought much of the a-ha effort, though it left Duran very much in the shade! No, the best Bond theme from that era is still Spandau’s “Gold!” In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that the were only three Bond themes; “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” and – maybe, “You Only Live Twice.” Ever hear Martin Fry’s cover of “Thunderball?” Pretty good though he wisely avoids the gonad-pinching climax of Sir Tom’s version!

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          • Echorich says:

            The PSB effort is quite weak. I agree that A-ha did get in a better effort than Duran. And of course Gold is the Bond theme that never was. Heard Hadley perform it on the 2012 Rewind Festival on Palladia over the weekend and it is still such a sturring pop song! Martin Fry would have sung a great Bond theme…just not sure he could have come up with the lyrical goods. His lyrical style doesn’t lend it itself to the genre. One can imagine though some brainiac at MGM thinking…He lets get Martin Fry in and see if Trevor Horn is available…I can only think the money would have been just too good for either of them to have said no…Oh and Fry’s Thunderball is spot on in my mind.
            Finally – You Only Live Twice is my choice for favorite – and performed by Soft Cell is my preferred version…

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            • postpunkmonk says:

              Echorich – What can I say? I’m a Nancy Sinatra man from way back! Kudos to Soft Cell anyway for a fantastic version in their own right.

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  2. Gavin says:

    Chaps-I have to disagree with you over the Duran song,it is my fave of any Bond theme!
    Peter’s song “Skyfall” is pure Bond for every second it is playing. It has all of the ingredients needed but put together in a more loving,mysterious and dark way(perfect for the film itself as it turned out)
    “Disguise” is my fave PG track of recent years,it has the most play counts of any track on my iTunes!
    Blondie’s “For Your Eyes Only” is another great lost Bond theme.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – Hmm. I never made the “rejected Bond theme” leap with Blondie’s “For Your Eyes Only,” though it’s been 30 years since I traded in my copy of “The Hunter” during the Great Vinyl Purge. I’ve since re-purchased the classic Blondie canon on the shiny silver discs… except for that one. Never felt the need.

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