Stubbies, smokos, and barbecues –life down under may sound pretty great, but that doesn’t mean the Aussies can’t be gloomy too. Post-punk infused band, Gold Class, is even pulling gloomy off pretty damn well. With Glenn Danzig-esque vocals and instrumental lines reminiscent of Joy Division –albeit a little more rock ‘n roll, ala the Screaming Females –Gold Class is shocking good and otherwise promising. Let’s face it, black is in fashion and so if you’re looking for the best tunes to complement your dystopian aesthetic, look no further than Gold Class’ latest release, Drum.
Two years ago, Gold Class made their first splash with It’s You. Notably, the album presented the deep vocals of Adam Curley alongside the keen instrumental lines of Evan James Purdey, Jon Shub, and Logan Gibson. With rapid and compelling tracks like, “Life As A Gun,” the band really carved out its own alternative rock niche –but arguably didn’t escape just being a niche. This is where Drum comes in.
The album begins closer to Danzig than Ian Curtis; it’s a fast line of distorted guitar placed on top of quick percussive hits. Curley’s vocals push through powerfully, sometimes echoing through the depths. “Twist In The Dark” is an instant hook of an opener. When the chorus begins, the band cracks open with more noise and energy. Screeching guitar riffs demand your attention, and the band launches full force.
The follow-up, “Rose Blind,” balances more calmed down instrumentals, with almost sentimental vocal lines, “I’m yours, your mine –“ a bit basic, but a thick bass guitar and minimalist approach make for a pleasant listen. The song feels a little less polluted by noise and instead centered on creating a more compelling listen. Notably, the guitar lines throughout stand out distinctively from the rest of the song –at times creating a decent textural effect. A few tracks later, and Gold Class turns it down another notch.
“Trouble Fun,” is driven by solemn guitar lines and solemn voices. “Don’t give me the sun, all I want is trouble fun.” Maybe the song is a bit oversimplified and something of a sleeper, but a well-placed, chilled out interlude. That said, at this mid-way point, Drum begins to reveal some of its issues.
If there’s any criticism to be had, it’s that Curley’s vocals are often at the front of songs, instead of sitting back and letting the otherwise astounding instrumentals do their thing. I think the band could have trimmed half the lyrics away, cut down on actual singing time, and still had a successful release. That said, Curley’s voice also helps make Gold Class unique –it’s a tough balance. Additionally and consequently, Gold Class is overly prone to making sleeper tracks. Some of the instrumental pieces are so much more compelling than anything else going on. This doesn’t take away from the overall listenability of Drum –it does make it harder to recommend the album as a hit.
At their best, Gold Class plays more engaging songs, with rattling percussive strikes, slick guitar riffs, balanced vocals, and a composition that captures solemn and speed. Case in point, “We Were Never Too Much,” is everything the listener wants from track one. After the band starts off so strong, it takes a while to deliver something as attractive again, but nonetheless they pull it off. The song negotiates proper airtime between each voice and the band lets loose. The drums fire off with quick strikes, the guitars build around the vocals in an adrenaline-rush melody.
Ultimately, Drum is a heavy promise. Gold Class composed several fantastic instrumental lines, pulled in one of the nicest, deep voices out there, and made me believe in Aussie, gloom and doom, post-punk. While I can’t say that Gold Class really is worth gold, their music is pretty solid and in need of some dedicated fans. For the post-punk fans out there, get intercontinental –Gold Class will have you hooked with their darkly inspired rock tunes.