Did somebody slip some anabolic steroids into Gold-Bears rider? The Atlanta quartet have raced out of the starting blocks quicker than Ben Johnson piggy backing on Roadrunner - meep meep! All you lazy bands take note, having only formed last year they’ve already offered up a 4 track EP; a further 3 track single AND been cocky enough to air an additional song as part of the ‘Wish I’d Had A Scrapbook’ compilation. Now low and behold they’ve only turned up with 9 brand new tracks which form the backbone of their debut album ‘Are You Falling In Love?’ - that’s what you call a work ethic.
It's not just their career trajectory that this breakneck approach is applicable too, at just over 33 minutes '....falling in love' is a full throttle adrenaline surge, audio ADHD if you like. On occasion though haste can be the perfect foil for masking a multitude of sins, so beyond the giddy, whirlwind exterior is there any substance?
Well that probably depends on what you're looking for from a new release. Breathtaking production? forget it! Precision playing? Move along, nothing to see here. Genre busting musical creativity? Nope. What it does have though is a real feel good factor, a wide eyed sunshine spirit and a batch of short, sharp songs that sound better and better with every listen.
Being signed to Slumberland Records, and now opening for them on tour, comparisons with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are inevitable (especially as 'Besides You' has pick pocketed it's chorus from 'The Tenure Itch' ). In common with the Brooklyn group, Gold-Bears appear to be heavily influenced by the jangle guitar pop of Paisley Underground scene bands like The Three O'Clock and The Dream Syndicate, a style which they have married with a raw, live, garage rock production ethos. In the songwriting stakes you'd have to give the nod to 'The Pains...', but for those that were disenchanted with the new fuller and glossier sound of 'Belong' this could be the LP that you're looking for to fill the void.
Opener 'Record Store' lays down a marker with it's chiming guitar work and punk rock aggression (think REM sharing a lock up with The Descendents) and that vitality spills over into the subsequent songs. 'So Natural' and the title track are awash with distortion, while 'Tally' and stand out number 'Totally Called it' are jam packed with melody. Album closer 'Yeah, Tonight' is the longest track on the record, and perhaps it's most ambitious, starting off at a gentle, reflective pace before beckoning in the base and drums to steer the LP to a swirling conclusion.
It's been a year well spent for Gold-Bears and it begs the question what will they achieve with time ahead of them? It could be a fun journey finding out, but at the pace they're going you better get your running shoes on if you want to come along!
So to answer their question - are you falling in love? Yep, with this record, I think I just might be.
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