Album review: Golden Silvers
Until someone decides to make real my imaginary band The Frank Butcher Booze Explosion – a three-piece punk rock and soul band, based on The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, only fronted by a hairy-chested, fat Cockney singer wearing tinted bifocals and screeching things like “Oooh, yeah, Pat, you muthafucker…” – Golden Silvers may well be the worst idea for a band ever conceived.
A guitarless trio from London with a penchant for sucrose-sweet three-part harmonies and lyrics even Justin Hawkins might file in the ‘save for a concept album about an orphaned unicorn’ pile (“behold his golden wings!” anyone?), I wouldn’t blame you for thinking, “Sounds like hard work – I’ll go with The Enemy instead…” Yet that’d be a crying shame – for this is one of the most special debuts in ages; a veritable feast of ideas, speculative fancy and fun.
From the Bowie-indebted folk rock of ‘Another Universe’ to the operatic Dexys Midnight Runners ska of the title tune, you may consider 2008’s winners of the Glasto unsigned competition to be the natural heirs to Mystery Jets (before they thought, “Cripes, we better write some proper pop songs if we’re going to actually have a career…” that is). Not to say this isn’t pop music alright – ‘Please Venus’ is the kind of acid-fried melodic wonder Super Furry Animals used to write before anyone stopped giving
a shit. But there’s nothing very populist about it. Nevertheless if you a) smoke weed, b) like your dad’s old prog-rock records, or c) like your music to favour
a curved line over a straight one in getting from A to C, you’ll find much to enjoy. Consider ‘Here Comes The King’, which manages to sound both uniquely British and totally Martian. British because the brilliantly named Gwilym Gold has a honeyed wetness to his vocals not heard since Elvis Costello. Martian because it sounds otherworldly, the kind of Technicolor eccentricity musicians have been looking for since people stopped selling LSD at gigs.
As debuts go, ‘True Romance’ is an astonishing statement of intent – if they’ve got any more ideas left after the 10 tunes here we could have a rather special band on our hands. Certainly better than The Frank Butcher Booze Explosion anyway.