beach-core-surf-rock-island-beat-samba bands. As infestations go, this is a good one. Ask the Egyptians when frogs and locusts tore through their fair farm zones (according to that famous storybook), or ask any of the people, and you know one even if you don't know you know, who have been afflicted with bedbugs. We'd all of us take the hundred odd summertime solace and joy of a great, rolling beat-heavy, slow-dance, mellow-out, get stoned kind of album over just about any other epidemic. And that's not even to add in some delightful shoe-gazey qualities either. ROAR is an EP, nearly an album in its delightful theme and body, by Dirty Gold. It came out early this year, on the Spring end of things, in April, but it has a place just about any time you can find it. A solid, thoroughly enjoyable collection of poppy, but zone-out ready indie tracks, ROAR should have found its place into your summer rotation by now. And if it hasn't, there's still about a month left before the SCOURGE OF AUTUMN takes these hot days away. Stream it below, at Dirty Gold's website, and then buy it. It's only $4.99!
Opening on the brief, elegant and crooning "North," Dirty Gold seem to beckon us away from the powerful and beating heat of summer time, flying us on a gull wing to a cooler place. The cooler place is adorned with bright guitars, outfitted in pleasant, charming and fun jangling riffs, and keeps us afloat and moving with bounding xylophonic/steel drum sounds. The beauty, for those of you, and me, who thought, "oh more Vampire Weekend" is that the vocals here have far more of a Paul Simon Graceland quality. And, the smoothness and vulnerability in that singing, makes it all seem far more real. The winner of the EP is track two, "California Sunrise." It's the kind of song that like Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead," defines an EP and sets a path for a band. In short, ROAR could be the next Chunk of Change. "California Sunrise," though, just emanates a vulnerability and kindness that shows a sweet and romantic view of love, quoting, "where our love ends my end begins." That's a fucking beautiful lyric. "Sea Hare" keeps this sincerity going. If there's a fault in this album, it's that it is so pure. Often, indie rock consumers, especially when dealing with a well-tilled genre like this one, demand some sarcasm, irony or self-awareness. Instead, Dirty Gold give us quality, beautiful, solid music, straight from the most technicolor of Brian Wilson's daydreams.
Amid some sampled tracks of rushing water and ringing phone, ROAR stays pretty fully attached to finely crafted, melodic guitar work and beat-keeping, flourish-light drums. On "Quiet Life," the lyrics deal with misunderstanding, giving up, starting again, and finding a path. The music wanders in a similar rut to the poetic content, but never to full detriment. It's a great track. It's a pure track. And it's largely a pastoral track. The closer, "Overboard" ups the mix and adds a quality, dreamy wall of sound to the situation. Echoing vocals add to the theme, but may have been a bit too much. Still, it's a brilliant song. And it has an expert grasp not only of classic pop-rock, but of the genre from which it borrows. This is possibly the best way to spend 20-plus minutes of your life. Unless of course you have a partner with whom to carnally express those 20-minutes. But then, listen to this while you do. It's pretty romantic.
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