June 17, 2009

Golden Holy
Golden Holy

Portland, OR
Record and mixed at home by Golden Holy |
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering

A lot of traveling happened to the members of Golden Holy before settling down to record this experimental and orchestral-sounding self-titled debut. The feeling of movement is felt profoundly on the material, as it never seems grounded. It sounds constantly in motion, either soaring or scurrying about with vocals both rapt and dynamic. As a whole, the album, in the end, feels like one lengthy song and story, like endless waves crashing at low tide. The album works like a mood enhancer, elevating from one sensation to the next. Think Tears for Fears as more rustic and less pop, utilizing sparse instrumentation choices like synth, accordion and the banjo. The first half is sonically verbose and grounded, sometimes sheepish and reserved. Midway through “Sons of Dreams” everything seems to coalesce and explode marvelously. Jason Fiske’s vocals are strained and engrossing, they grasp and curl, breathless in a reaching-themasses way. “A Whale’s Tooth” is its opposite, playful like a children’s song and sore like a dark, clouded, useless day. “Return to Land” echoes a maddening course as Fiske sings, “I’m shipwrecked on an iceberg/Tiny spiders crawling on me.”

The hushed vocals and soft growls recall Chin Up Chin Up and Roky Erickson, acting as a yin and yang to fiery material. It feels subdued and theatrical in delivery, large in ambition and weighted with meaning. The effect is fruitful and endearing, never self-indulgent or pretentious, as large concepts tend to be. Golden Holy is an album that sounds like chaos and mending, of fences built, broken and left to rest. The result makes for a great debut. (Magic Bullet Records)
-Brian Tucker

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