Audio Mixers: Palmbomen; Ilias Chatziathanasiou; Golden Daze.
Recording information: Twentynine Palms, CA.
Underneath the gauzy, lo-fi patina of their self-titled debut, California's Golden Daze have buried some richly realized pop songs. Late-'60s enthusiasts Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb approach their brand of textured pop in a manner similar to Anton Newcombe, whose long-running psych-revival outfit Brian Jonestown Massacre is another acknowledged influence. While droning shoegaze ambience and shimmering effects help to weave these 11 songs together, the core of Golden Daze's sound is much more focused than its dreamy first impressions might indicate. The spirited midtempo rocker "Low" is an early highlight, with some nifty hooks and a soaring chorus plowing through its acres of reverb. "Foreigner" is another standout whose clever chord structure builds around a beguiling little vocal motif that serves as its chorus. Along with the exultant thump of "Sleepin' in the Sun," it's also among the catchiest tracks on the album. Golden Daze also prove they have a way with more subtle fare on "Wildcard," a brainy bit of laid-back pop with a nicely subdued groove that sets up the celestial and quietly massive "Still Time" which closes out the album. At times, the effects feel like a third bandmember as Schwab and Loeb dial up the tape echo on their vocal tracks to create new rhythms, or launch a dense cloud of manipulated guitar signal that hovers like a thunderstorm. Fans of Amen Dunes and earlier Tame Impala will likely find Golden Daze on their radar, but even those who don't quite go for psych or dream pop will recognize the solid pop songcraft on this well-made debut. ~ Timothy Monger