Goldenhorse
Riverhead
Siren / Capitol
2002
C+

getting a considerable amount of high-profile air-time and press attention, Goldenhorse have finally released their debut after two promising pre-release singles over the course of the last two years. These singles showcased mature, yet playful lyrics (with more than a dash of sardonic humor) and eclectic musical stylings (mostly due to the inimitable production).


That producer is Geoff ‘Creeting’ Maddock, Goldenhorses’ multi-instrumentalist and producer- one of the creative forces behind the bizarre, insanely clever, but wildly uneven Bressa Creeting Cake from a few years back. Bressa Creeting Cake (who changed their name from the rather tawdry ‘Breast Secreting Cake’ once their songs became national hits) expressed the inner child-like behaviors of Geoff Maddock and co-conspirators Edmund Cake and Mike Bressa. They produced a self titled debut record that switched between musical styles deftly and often.


That’s why the Goldenhorse project appears to be Maddocks’ attempt at conning the general public. Filled with delightfully poppy songs featuring syrupy vocals from the divine Kirstin Morelle and the occasionally sarcastic lyric, the album never veers anywhere near the bizarre tendencies of the Bressa Creeting Cake album. With songs like ‘American Wife’ (which seems to be a sarcastic attack on Americanized suburban life-styles from the perspective of an Asian wife), however, you can’t help but think Creeting’s up to something.


For the most part it’s a gently flowing album filled with additional production flourishes and dramatic build-ups. It’s the funky, basic formula tracks (such as the sterling singles ‘American Wife’ and ‘Baby’s Been Bad’) that draw the most attention, though. Maddock’s production often creates beautiful moods and lends itself to all the right emotions. Unfortunately, Maddock also has a tendency to not rein this over-the-top nature and base-hitting approach. I get a chuckle everytime the guitar plucking for ‘Goldendawn’ starts up, for instance. Was he purposely aiming for the soft, lilting guitar of The Scorpions hair-rock classic ‘Winds Of Change’?, because if so, he’s done a lovely job!


To be fair, it’s not at all a boring album, and Morelle seems like quite a mature and accomplished vocalist. Floating with casual abandon on ‘Maybe Tommorrow’, she could quite easily command a solo-career on her work there alone. If only the high points (the charismatic ska-rhythms of ‘Baby’s Been Bad’, the chugging Led-Zepplinized bass of ‘Wake Up Brother’) weren’t met by almost as many lulls (the plodding ‘Spice Islands’ and ‘Dark Forest’), this album would not be as mediocre as it turned out to be. Still recommendable on the strength of the singles alone, it seems like more of a teaser than a complete album from Maddock and the gang.


Reviewed by: Chris Andrews
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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