There is that certain type of band one overhears in a bar with a stage venue on a Saturday night, or sees onstage at a street festival or county fair. The music is a blend of late ‘60s to late ‘70s covers and originals. The band is rather large with guitars bass, drums, and then there is a percussionist and a group of female backup singers and a few horn players in the back right who wait reverently for their time to play.
The crowd gathered is into it, especially when the band plays a familiar cover. The band though is also always into it, and from time to time, in the midst of a jam session you see the guitarist smiling give the bass player a familiar nod that says, “yeah, they’re loving it out there.”
The Alex Golding project Goldtripper is precisely that kind of band. On their first four-song EP Goldtripper Golding shows off his instrumental skills in a big way. Aside from being the lead vocalist and guitarist, Golding also plays mandolin, bass, drums, percussion, additional keyboards and programming with additional help from Harriet Roberts on backup vocals and James Hllawell who plays piano, Hammond organ and Wurlitzer.
The Goldtripper EP explodes right out of the gate with the raunchy rocker “Senorita” on which Golding spins a tale of a man trying to find a woman who he had spent only one night with but that he cannot get out of his head. Its big and over the top in a good way with blaring horns, powerful backing vocals and features some pretty dam catchy guitar pop riffs. Golding takes on a splashier dream pop sound on “Don't Hide Your Love” on which he shows off his vocal range taking on the ooh and ahh backing vocals himself. The song seems to fall in the vein of soft rock balladry.
The feeling changes on the raucous rocker “Like a Diamond” which is a complete one hundred and eighty degree turn from the two prior tracks. From a standpoint of a listener it seems as though Golding is trying to pander to a very wide audience, which on a longer record may work, however on a four-song EP focus is the key. The sparkly slow alt-rock jam “You’re Sky” seems to bring things back into perspective to close out the record.
Each of the songs on the Goldtripper EP is wholly realized and the instrumentation and recording is spot on. However given the multiple directions each of these songs takes it is hard to get a sense of the EP as a whole and of exactly the direction Goldtripper is trying to move as a band.
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