Los Angeles is known for many things, and producing creatively powerful music is one of those very things. Bringing us their emotional, alt- electronic, and cryptically dark sound, Native Gold is looking to turn some heads with their unique musical experience, that is, their new EP titled A Man We All Admire.
Opening with the NIN-esque meets Radiohead track “Fake The Smile”, Native Gold waste no time at all drawing the listener into a dark cinematic experience. The vocals are haunting, and when met with both the grand piano and fragile sample sounds, this track soars to some interesting heights by making you feel like you have been dragged down to some devious lows. The song is layers upon layers of true digital chemistry. Giving off the impression that it is a sort-of controlled chaos, and that if not mixed as well as it is, that this track could easily have spiraled out into every direction, and into the musical nether. For some, this song will be an easy pill to swallow, and for others, this might lean a bit too heavy on the dark arts to absorb fully. Either way, as a Nine Inch Nails fan myself, this song was easy to enjoy.
The following track titled “Fickle” is the bands current lead single, and admittedly, it is a bit of a strange choice for a single, I would have chosen “Fake The Smile” before this one myself, but as this not my choice to make, let us move on shall we? “Fickle” is vocally focused, with some of the most interesting musical layers I have heard in a while. Much like “Fake The Smile” this song feels like it is being held together by sheer will of force alone, and will no doubt find itself a bit too creatively challenged to open most radio doors; but that is why we have the internet anyway, so songs that choose to be this daring can find their place among ambitious listeners.
The final song titled “Begun To Begin” might be the best choice for a single. It dives into a Bjork-style synth line, overlapped with the, now signature, harmonized high register vocals, and a mean, truly industrial, indulged drum-kit. The added guitars at the end are a thing of true beauty, and if ever there was a shining moment to turn up loud on this album, it is near the magical end of “Begun To Begin”.
I have sung the praises of this gem of a truly brief EP, but some criticisms do need to be brought into the light in order to keep this as honest a review possible. I appreciate what Native Gold has brought to the table. On one hand it is a unique mash-up of what we have all heard before somewhere or another, and on the other hand it wears its musical influences a bit too close to its heart. If you told me that this was a collaboration between Trent Reznor and Thom Yorke (the early years), I might actually believe you. What is here is enough to show the world that Native Gold, given enough time, and practice, will no doubt create some deep and heavy music capable of capturing the mass number of fans that they deserve. However, A Man We All Admire is an EP that still feels like it needs to grow into itself. The songs are interesting, but they do not progress as excitingly as they should. In the future I would like to see this band lean less on the electronic side of the spectrum and more on the live instruments, I think in there somewhere is the answer to why these songs are really good, but not truly incredible.
Native Gold can be found onFacebook, and Twitter.