Golden Daze are Los Angeles based duo Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb; taking their inspiration from a veritable roll-call of sonic palettes they’ve brought their debut self-titled album to the table served with a healthy side order of old-school psychedelia.
Having first come across these guys after the release of their debut single ‘Salt’, most of us were eager to hear the full length version of their pop-vision. While ‘Salt’ itself kicked along at a fair old pace – bolstered by a tight rhythm section and great old school indie riff – arguably what ‘made’ the track was the Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies which they lavished on top of the track. The album’s opener ‘Ghost’ is decidedly lower in tone, which is no bad thing. Kicking off with a simply strummed acoustic riff the track quickly develops into a Tame Impala type groove; a comparison which rears its head at other points throughout the LP. ‘Never Coming Back’ is as indie as indie can be. It bounces along without much of a fuss apart from a slightly distorted stop-start middle-8 and catchy chorus. It’s most likely one that you will find yourself coming back to again and again.
‘Foreigner’, another standout track, is one you’ll have no problem imagining going down well in a live setting. Indeed its catchy ‘ahh-ahh-ahh’ melody makes a very strong case for this to be the next single. Including an instrumental track or two on albums seems to becoming more de rigeur with a lot of bands doing it with for apparent reason; as is the case with “the instrumental track” here, ‘Attic’. It doesn’t really serve any purpose or break new ground. It doesn’t herald the end of side A or the beginning of side B. It just sounds like a very close relative of the opening track ‘Ghost’, but in truth doesn’t really count for much here. Leaving the instrumental out would leave the track count at 10… is that so bad?
The sonic touchstones are obvious throughout this album but the question here is whether the finished product is greater than the sum of its influences. Do the band strike out enough on their own to have people stand up and take notice? They have certainly set about crafting a sound and a contiguous vibe and atmosphere throughout the album and this can be beneficial or detrimental for certain bands. In this case, it’s a little bit of both. It helps the songs hang together, but the danger here is that they can all melt into one. All of the songs have been treated with the same vocal effects, the guitar effects pretty much sound the same. There is no light and shade, not too many splashes of colour. There are not too many ‘wow’ moments on this album but there are a lot of ‘ok’ moments and that in itself sums it up – not bad.