GOLD is the brainchild of Thomas Sciarone, known from his work with occult doom act The Devil's Blood. Having released two very good albums so far, in Interbellum and No Image, they are now carrying down on the same dark path with Optimist. GOLD is a notoriously difficult band to pinpoint sonically. Sure, they exist within a rock setting, but since the beginning their influences have been so diverse and at the same time so well integrated into each other, it is nearly impossible to accurately describe what they are doing.
The band defines itself as “post-everything dark rock.” It is the “dark” part of this description that is the most apparent, and the one that resonates the most in their music. Their work throughout the years featured that characteristic, but it feels further augmented with Optimist, a title which becomes slightly sardonic after the first three, four minutes of the album. Without necessarily leaning towards goth rock, GOLD crafts a sorrowful setting, with graphic surroundings, coming through wonderfully in tracks like “No Shadow” and the closer “Tear.” It is within this scenery that Milena Eva's vocals find the perfect balance. Acting as a constant force, without becoming overwhelming, they are enhancing this darker dimension of GOLD, by shining a dim light over it.
When it comes to the “post” mentality of the band, there is a more pronounced presentation of the post-punk and new wave aesthetic. The bass lines of tracks like “You Too Must Die” and “No Shadow” speak of that era, with their steady progression and energy setting a strong tone. The punk roots are also highlighted, traveling towards the core, bringing a more aggressive and urgent perspective, as well as the off-kilter sound of Sonic Youth in “I Do My Own Stunts.” The tempering of such qualities is minimal for GOLD, who simply encapsulate the no wave aesthetically sporadically, either with ambient leanings in “Teenage Lust” or a noise rock injection in “Summer Thunder.” As slight as the additions might be, they boost the record as a whole, and they also display the allure of that sound and era in GOLD's concepts.
But at the core of it all, the one aspect of Optimist that really sticks out is its melodic tendency. The guitar leads and phrases are the driving forces behind the momentum this album builds. The experimental scope of GOLD allows for further mutations, attaining elements of doom to blackened recitals of epic grandeur in “White Noise” or depressive rock form of the opening track, but the main focus is always on retaining the memorability of the hooks. This is the telling quality of GOLD, and it is where Optimist thrives.
7.8 / 10
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