Say Psych: Album Review: Golden Hours – Golden Hours

The Breakdown

There is no disputing the talent of the musicians in this band, but its clear they are not content to rehash old territory. In Golden Hours they have pushed their own boundaries and created an LP which is sultry, evocative, and alluring

Based between Brussels and Berlin, Golden Hours is comprised of past and present members of Gang Of Four, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tricky, The Fuzztones and The Third Sound, to name just a few. A band with mileage and stories, they trade in rock’n’roll missives that are at times dark, tense and hypnotic, at others sweaty, relentless and danceable. Made up of Hákon Adalsteinsson (Guitar/Vocals), Rodrigo Fuentealba Palavacino (Guitar), Tobias Humble (Drums/Vocals) and Wim Janssens (Bass/Keys/Vocals), Golden Hours released their self-titled debut album last week on Fuzz Club Records.

Wim says of the project and its incoming debut: “The musical backgrounds of each member are pretty broad but somehow when we come together there’s a pretty clear definition of what our music should sound like. There’s a beautiful friction between the noise we produce and the love for melody that seems to overtake at just the right moment. There never seems to be a lack of ideas when we come together. In silent agreement, every idea gets tried and will be further developed into a song or skipped in a heartbeat. No time is wasted. It all happens pretty automatically.”

Golden Hours came to exist after a chance encounter in 2021 between Tobias and Rodrigo whilst they were both in Athens, Greece playing the same clubs and festivals that week – Rodrigo with The Fuzztones, Tobias with Gang Of Four. Tobias recalls: “Rodrigo and I met first in the back of a van, careering into Athens, the two of us hungover and sweating, distracting ourselves from the perilous journey by barking names of EBM and post-punk influences at each other as our fellow passengers did their best efforts to keep the driver from turning our ride into a Greek tragedy for the ages.” By the time the shuttle bus had pulled into their hotel to the tune of screeching tires and relieved passengers, the Golden Hours were formed.

With plans now in motion, Rodrigo tasked himself with rounding up some co-conspirators to complete the Golden Hours line-up: “We planned to meet up in Berlin where I had made contact with Hàkon, being a fan of his work with The Third Sound and Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Wim, who I knew from Brussels and his work with Joy Wellboy and Tricky. In Berlin we had three loud rehearsals, working on loose material, occasionally interrupted for a silent smoke and a drink and some grinning.” A studio was then booked and over two days five songs were recorded in clandestine fashion in a secret location in Berlin – the band adjusting their dynamics to avoid the keen eyes of the Polizei roaming the streets outside.

Later that year Rodrigo was invited to be the artist-in-residence at the Ghent edition of Desertfest, so he invited the band along to make their live debut at the festival and spend five days holed up in the Vooruit venue writing and rehearsing. Returning to Berlin, the rest of the album was then committed to tape over another two-day recording session, with Wim helming the mixing duties. “Wim is the bands’ sonic alchemist,” Tobias says, “he toiled for what felt like aeons, melding the unshakeable, and often conflicting, band-members’ desires into a complete being of the like that would make a Shelley shudder.” And, like that, their self-titled debut was complete.

The nine-track offering opens with ‘Come and Find Me’, an invitation if ever there was one, is sultry and invocative number, which is constant and yet ever evolving. ‘Drone Club’ is hot on its heels, the instrumental number has its electronic edges smoothed out by lashings of reverb. ‘The Forgotten One’ will ensure its anything but, despite its softer countenance than the preceding tracks. It creates ethereal soundscapes that invoke hazy summer beach days. ‘Japan On My Mind’ exudes a nostalgia so strong it could come from an era long past while ‘Run Man Run’ is a pacey number which leaves you needing to draw breath. ‘Calling Me Home’ is a piece of shoegaze brilliance, with vocals lost in layers of sound, and given all the musicians in this band are long suffering, one can’t help but wonder if this is a tribute to those left behind when they set out on tour. ‘Dead On’ is haunting in a way that’s hard to pin down, the echoing vocals and stark keyboard melody bury deep into the psyche. ‘Not Enough’ invokes the spirit of the West in it’s tonation and rolling motorik beat before concluder ‘Keep On Dreaming’ lulls the album out while leaving you wanting more.

There is no disputing the talent of the musicians in this band, but its clear they are not content to rehash old territory. In Golden Hours they have pushed their own boundaries and created an LP which is sultry, evocative, and alluring.

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