Peering into someone’s heart and mind and glimpsing their deepest fears and worries, riding a flow of nihilism to a place where hope is a distant glimmer: GOLD‘s new album is a journey into a tormented personal world that looks out on reality with resigned, critical eyes.
Optimist, produced by Ván Records, is the Dutch band’s third studio project, recorded by Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Ash Borer, Marissa Nadler) at Amsterdam Recording Company. An album that is heavy because of its content more than its sound.
They formed in 2011 when former The Devil’s Blood member Thomas Sciarone set out with Milena Eva to make music as a monument to the decline of civilization. The six-member band focuses on form and content, with their instruments as a mere means of expression.
Optimist represents the individual’s desperate struggle against apathy and loneliness, watching daily as the world destroys our personal dreams. It is no coincidence that the first track begins with the lyric “Binge-watching the world collapse, comfortably sitting there hardly paying attention” erasing all doubt as to the band’s artistic maturity and the message it is getting at.
GOLD‘s emotional strength rests in the pairing of impeccable instrumental tracks – guitar trio Thomas Sciarone, Jaka Bolič, and Kamiel Top, bassist Tim Meijer and drummer Igor Woulters, – with the voice of Milena Eva. Through her unmistakable, passionate timbre, Eva bares her deepest and rawest emotions and brings them through in the finest detail.
Despite her essentially melodic vocal style, the frankness and intimacy of Eva’s lyrics are striking. Summer Thunder is a self-motivational speech in which Eva tells herself to be patient and have faith that good things lie ahead. In the instrumental track, the bass chases the guitar and drums through a crescendo to a sonic explosion on the words “Wait for whatever is coming next”.
White Noise, on the other hand, begins with a discomforting guitar riff, followed by an instrumental motif that repeats throughout the track, filling the song with a sense of confusion and interference.
In Teenage Lust, practically a lullaby, Eva’s voice warms and coddles the listener. It is almost as though this simple, deep song was placed mid-album as a moment of respite from the dark, chaotic world that returns full-force in No Shadows and the following tracks.
I Do My Own Stunts, Be Good and Come With Me bring us towards the end of the album. By Tears, things are even darker than they were at the beginning: “One lonely tear ran down my face. There were no words left to speak”.
GOLD‘s nonconformist outsider approach has truly allowed them to find their niche and Optimist is the excellent result of intense years of performing and self-reflection.
The album release party took place on March 16th at V11/Rotown Rotterdam, kicking off the GOLD European tour.