Artist: Golden Glow
Label: Bleeding Gold Records
Golden Glow is the solo project of Pierre Louis Hall. Hall spent his twenties in Manchester where he worked with friends as an events promoter and played in a now-defunct band called the Lead Balloons, before recently moving back to London, where he was born. The soot-stained, ale-soaked essence of Manchester is quite present in his new six-song EP, Beauty/Duty, released on limited-edition cassette through Bleeding Gold Records. Apparently Hall had a few recording sessions full-band style but wasn’t into the results, and decided to return to home-recording on the same trusty 4-track he used for his 2011 debut full-length, Tender is the Night, this time with production assistance from label-mate Laurie Hulme, aka Songs for Walter, who also has played in live incarnations of Golden Glow.
The lo-fi production works well with the simple and straight-forward songwriting. It is clear off the bat that this is bedroom pop, paying homage to influences like the Velvet Underground, Pulp, and the old school Manchester indie scene. Even the name Golden Glow is taken from a 1984 single of Birmingham pop-rock group Felt. The first track, “Don’t Forget Me”, is a catchy number that sounds (almost disturbingly) like it could be a B-side off the Strokes’ Is This It. Single “the Scene” is sweet, dreamy shoegaze-lite, sporting an Anna Karina sample for hipness cred. The coolest track is probably the fully instrumental “LiP”, with its driving beat and sexily repetitive guitar line, it might be the most compelling song on the EP, which could have something to do with the absence of vocals.
While it has its moments, Beauty/Duty feels pretty frustrating. For a release that seems to wear its influences so prominently on its sleeve, one gets the sense that there is unrealized potential yet to manifest in Hall’s songwriting. These tracks are not especially memorable and sound a bit too much like other stuff to really make a lasting impression. It comes across more like an intellectual exercise than a heartfelt expression of soul. There’s a reservedness, something guarded that feels safely nested in the familiar; Hall’s vocals and lyrics sound too affectatiously modelled after the serotonin-depleted ennui of previous generations of artists, and not yet matured into a uniquely personalized style. For Golden Glow, more emotional vulnerability, perhaps, might make the difference between being influenced and being influential.