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Tender is the Night


Golden Glow


Mush Records

Release Date:


Reviewed by:

Golden Glow is the project of one Pierre Hall, from Manchester UK. Hall's label emailed me this record about a year ago, and i copied it up to my phone for listening. I had, and continue to have, very mixed feelings about this release. And when in doubt, i go and read the press release, which i barely skim over prior to listening. (I don't want the publicity to affect my opinions...)

This line from the press email grabbed my attention: "Naming his new project Golden Glow as a tribute to the band Felt and their track Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow..." Really? I loved Felt, and it seems as if very few people have ever heard of them, much less been influenced by them musically. And yet, here is a Felt-influenced band, at least ostensibly.

And honestly, i had made one note relating to the song Start Again that relates here, in that i feel this song is Felt meets The Fall. But the whole record features amazing guitar interplay (especially on this song) with some off and quite often terrible vocals layered over them.

And that, ultimately, is the what i dislike about this record. Not the music, which is catchy and perky, and not the lyrics, which are hard to understand but don't seem awful from what i can tell. No, i just hate the way the voice was recorded. It sounds like Hall was placed in a closet lined with loosely attached sheets of tin foil, and then told to sing loudly. The result is an echoing, trebly, clattering mess, the sound of a mixing board being overloaded. Sometimes the vocals are difficult to listen too, they are so ear-piercingly trebly.

After reading the press release i see that Hall recorded everything on this record himself, at home while recuperating from a car wreck. That is a pretty admirable feat, and the man obviously has a lot of talent. Figuring out how to record his singing is, sadly, not one of his talents. The music and mixing on this record are slightly lo-fi, but nothing to complain about. The vocals are recorded in a fashion that i can only generously describe as "amateurish".

So every time i listen to this record, i think that the songs are just plain fun. Like Start Again, which i mentioned above, which bounces along happily with great guitar interplay. Or Books, where the layers of guitar tinkle along under a jaunty rhythm. And who can forget On My Own, where one guitar layer is a fuzzed out drone, while on the other Hall steals the rhythm guitar riff from Sharks and Minnows' Cleopatra Song. (Note: I doubt he has even heard of Sharks and Minnows, and so did not really steal it, but i swear he is playing the same riff.)

And then, after i have listened to the sheer fun in these songs, the echoing distorted voice gets to me. Well, except for on the slow folkish ballad Locked Away, where Hall sings quietly (not overloading his 4-track for once), and the voice really seems to blend well with the music.

For a long time i thought i disliked the record, because of the vocals. However, i kept coming back to it, and when Hall is on, the results of his strong song crafting shine through the sketchy recording process. I would be very interested to see what he can do with a real recording studio.

So i cannot recommend this album for everyone. However, if you have a high tolerance for tinny vocals and the general lo-fi aesthetic, then this record is something you should definitely check out.

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