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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Golden Republic
The Golden Republic

Rating: 5.5/10 ?

May 18, 2005
For what seemed to be an exclusively electronic label for a long while, Astralwerks' expanding roster of non-electronic acts is an interesting progression, adding diversity with rap act K-Os, the spacey Badly Drawn Boy, and now the 70s-inspired The Golden Republic. The last of those acts is a particularly interesting addition, as they lack any heavy electronic or ambient elements, instead playing retro-inspired rock.

The Golden Republic dwell in a rock and roll limbo, swimming through their 70s roots while clinging onto modern indie influences; it makes this self-titled debut rather convoluted. A squelch of feedback on opening track, "The Turning of the World," and its subsequent thick, bluesy guitar masks its true intentions, which share more in common with contemporaries such as The Strokes and The Killers. Mid-tempo, three-chord guitar and repetitive drum beats drive the vocal reiteration: "I'd love to tell you so, but the turning of the world distracts you from the word," and past decades are left just a glance over the shoulder.

The Golden Republic meanders in and out of musical progressions like these, bouncing from the present to American 70s rock, 60s British pop and back again. It's the lack of consistency from song to song that fails the album, as too many influences stifle The Golden Republic's sound and confuses their direction.

On "I'll Do Anything," singer Ben Grimes yelps like Mick Jagger. Then, "Things We Do" slows tempo and seemingly plays tribute to Radiohead; "Robots" follows like an 80s B-side. "Not My Kind" bounces its way into some 60s British pop. All these sounds and vibes - but no single constant - leave the listener with anxious moments while The Golden Republic make good, then stray away again.

"You Almost Had It" has enough punch and harmony to become memorable, offering variance and catchy chorus and really marrying all The Golden Republic's styles together; the irony of the song title is precious to boot.

The rest of the album's hits and misses have more to do with an appreciation for too many genres, too many styles and eras. Combining all these elements makes it difficult to pin down a specific sound or feeling. As a listener, it's a challenge to really get into an album with so many musical variations that never break any new ground.

In reality, it's just a matter of assembling the puzzle... the pieces are there, now The Golden Republic needs to get the corners in place and build a frame, then fill in the center. Remember: quality not quantity, kids.

Reviewed by David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other reviews by David Spain



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