Album Review: Gold & Youth, 7"
Considered an indie label heavyweight nowadays, Arts & Crafts have been stepping outside their comfort zone for a while now. No longer do they stay within the confines of their family tree of acts, but the label who gave us Broken Social Scene, Feist, Stars and Jason Collett have now furthered their reach of talent, from outside of Toronto to lesser-known acts with loads of potential.
Their latest signee comes to us from Toronto and Vancouver in the form of a four-piece synth-rock band called Gold & Youth. Formerly known as The Raccoons, the band has gone through a bit of a transformation, adding a new member and refining their sound a bit more. Gone are the riff-heavy pop rock melodies, as heard on their 2010 EP Islomania, and in its place came a wave of keys and synths.
Sure, this seems like a quick fix that most acts are guilty of — dim the lights, add a splash of synth, and voila, "edge"! — but you can't fault a band who does it correctly. And, for the rebranded Gold & Youth, it's a sound that much better suits them.
Their debut full-length in this incarnation has been delayed till next year, but for now, we've been given this 7" single to get a taste of what's to come.
"City of Quartz" is the lead single; a track that features a light and bouncy beat, but is immediately balanced out by Matthew Lyall's heavy baritone voice. On the flip side, we get "Time to Kill," a song that starts off more somber, but eventually picks up with a drum beat.
There's a clear thread of nostalgia that underlies the band's music, with its dark 80s synth aesthetics clouding the tracks in a cinematic haze that's undeniably hypnotic.
Newly added member, Louise Burns, is the lone female in the band, but her contrasting voice creates a pleasant juxtaposition that syncs up well with Lyall. This is what Ian Curtis would sound like if he sang duets with a female vocalist.
Gold & Youth have clearly rewired their sound in the right direction and if these two tracks are any indication, 2013 will be a big one for this band.