Golden Daze

We’ve been coming across a lot of tracks and albums over the past few weeks that seemed to skip winter and head straight into late spring/early summer mode. So when we heard the perpetual frost that covers Golden Daze’s self-titled album, we were so happy. That’s not to say the album isn’t without its warm hues, but Golden Daze helps to remind us all that sometimes you need to tap the brakes and bask in the presence of now.

Several tracks throughout seem to patiently find their footing. Or you could say that rather than going for the big splash, they tend to dip a toe in first. Such is the case with the duo of Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb. “Ghost” seems like a nosedive is coming, but the chords just don’t let it happen, and it feels like a ghost finding a new body. The wave gets buried again in a wall of lo-fi production on “Never Comin’ Back.”

You could say a track like “Low” possesses the qualities of heading towards an opus. But as the two shed themselves of a dead weight carried within the lyrics, they pull the reins and exhibit restraint. It’s this ability to know when to pause and when to continue that pulls the listener in, one chord progression at a time.

An unashamed ability to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve isn’t far off within either. “Foreigner” touches on feeling like you don’t belong where your roots are planted. The tempo keeps everything in check when disappoint seems to take toll helping to steer the guys away from a forlorn state. You get another sense for how low things can get when the next track, the instrumental “Attic,” passes through. Walking down a dusty blue highway, cars pass, and an occasional light flickers, but the feeling of being stranded is inescapable.

So where are the silver linings and steps towards warmth? Not too far off. Remember, thoughtfulness and taking one stride at a time is one of the many strong suits of Golden Daze, both the album and the band. “Sleepin’ in the Sun” feels refreshed in its peppy, psych pop goodness. Everyone walks around with a nod and smile. Realizations of a need to turn the corners of the mouth up help play a role in this all. “Salt” stretches itself and fades into a flickering light. You genuinely believe it when they say, “I don’t mind if I don’t find a way; because, babe, it’s gonna be okay.”

In the end though, the coldness rears its ugly head. Unconvincingly, “Still Time” finds Golden Daze looking for a sign to stay. Displaced chords and key changes don’t seem too concerned one way or the other. An unclear outcome is shrouded in discontent, and the grey cloud just hovers until a close.

Worthy of multiple repeat plays, Golden Daze is out tomorrow from Autumn Tone Records. Joey Smith