The Longwalls album Gold Standard is an interesting piece of work that combines an old-fashioned rock ethos with a more modern sensibility and approach. “Too Many Prayers” kicks off the album on a high note with some nicely dissonant guitar riffs backing the solid vocal performance. “Simple Thoughts” uses a twanging tremolo to begin the song and builds to an extremely fuzzed out riff, the addition of the steel guitar lends the song a bit of a Neil Young feel. “Burger and Fries” is a somewhat more straight-forward rock song with an early 70’s aesthetic. “Burger and Fries” is not necessarily my favorite song on the album, feeling rather shallow and lacking any real substance. Perhaps it is just a parody that didn’t come off well, but a parody that falls flat is often worse than what it attempts to parody.
“O’ My Brother” falls more firmly on the country music side of the fence than the other tracks on the album. With the omission of the blisteringly distorted lead in the track it could pass for a rather good folk song. “Rukia” is a minimalistic acoustic track with the largest addition in the form of a piano, “Rukia” is competently performed if not anything particularly special. “Bankai” is a return to the fuzzed out riffs of the album’s beginning. The rather jovial tune of the song is a nice contrast to the somewhat darker “Rukia” preceding it, however it is not anything special.
“Home” is probably my favorite track from the album, using an uptempo rhythm with dueling guitars makes for the exact kind of no-frills rock song I would like to see me of. I may have used my Neil Young comparison a bit early since “The Gold Standard” sounds like it was a b-track from Harvest. “The Gold Standard” is a capable take on the distinct kind of heartland rock that Young is famous for. The lyrical content however is somewhat simplistic, but it’s still a good overall performance. Gold Standard is a workmanlike rock album with a couple notable highlights. The Longwalls manage to create a sound that is identifiably unique and I hope they continue to explore more of their distorted tonal music in future albums.