Album Review: Golden Silvers – True Romance

by Tony Butterworth on August 26, 2009

Golden Silvers - True Romance

Once again I get the chance to review an album from a band that I have not heard before and, in this case, a new band.  Golden Silvers are a band from London signed to the independent label XL.  The line-up consists of vocalist and keyboardist Gwilym Gold, Ben Moorhouse on bass guitar, and Robden Alexis Nunez on drums.  The band gained recognition by winning Glastonbury’s prestigious New Talent competition in 2008.  Their debut album, True Romance, was released in the UK in April 2009 and has hit the US this week

Before reading this review it’s worth remembering one of my common complaints these days – boredom when listening to albums that have the same feel all the way through.  Let’s see how True Romance holds up in that department.

Track 1 is “Another Universe.”  Opening with an organ and simple drum beat you are definitely drawn in as to what is to come next. We suddenly drop back to a simple piano and vocal, with a slightly lisping, English delivery the vocals hit the right spot for me.    Two minutes in the songs kicks off its full band, lush backing vocals and well sung lead. It’s extremely reminiscent of Super Furry Animals or maybe Doves.  A good start.

Track 2 “True Romance” is something completely different, a dance beat reminding me somehow of early Spandau Ballet or, if I may be so bold, Wham.  A fun listen, and nicely timed at three and half minutes (more on that later).  Next is “Magic Touch,” another different sound here, driven by the organ and syncopated beat, solid backing vocals again.

The fourth track is “My Love Is a Seed That Doesn’t Grow,” again a new direction here, synth beat, mellow, almost trip hoppy.  The melody is eerily similar to “House of the Rising Sun.”  Some nice piano in the middle but really this song doesn’t draw the listener in as much as some of the others.  This is followed by  “Here Comes The King,” something of a plodding song once again bringing to mind Doves album tracks.

Things change up again for “Shakes,” something of a noise driven song, stepping clearly into Stone Roses or similar territory with its funky beat, and semi spoken distorted vocals. A change of genre again on “Queen Of The 21st Century,” now we’re sounding like Chris Martin but then the driving drum beat starts and the song takes off.  A really infectious chorus, full of bounce and spirit, this is perhaps my favorite song on the album with one qualification, it’s too long (hold on and read my complaints later), and spends the last minute or so doing nothing.

Now we have “Please Venus” and The Super Furry Animals sound is back, led by a simple analog synth figure and lots of backing “oohs” with mellow vocals.  Once again a minute too long but at least this song carries on all the way to the end instead of degenerating into some kind of jam ending.  Onto “Arrows of Eros” where we’re back into an 80’s dance style of pop, again close to two minutes longer than it probably needs to be.

The final song is “Fade To Black,” a simple piano and vocal song, very effective and an excellent way to end the album, sounding at times like a hymn (albeit one written by Chris Martin again).  The last line is done and the album fades to black.

Overall a good album, one that varies enough in style that I was not bored of the mood by the fifth track.  There’s nothing here I haven’t heard before and perhaps some stuff that’s a bit to close to specific things that I have heard before.

Regarding song lengths, I am constantly frustrated these days by the length of the pop songs we listen to. So many songs these days are four to five minutes, which is fine, except when the last ninety seconds is spent either jamming or repeating stuff we’ve already heard.  Many of the songs on this album, and many others, could have been 75% shorter and would have been just as effective and not had me reaching for the FF button.  Jay Reatard could teach people a lot in this area.

True Romance is available now from XL Recordings

Watch the video for “Please Venus”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie Carney August 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I second your motion on song lengths. I don’t care how good your chorus is, after the tenth time, please stop! (Yes Ting Tings, I’m talking to you!)


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