Gold Star

Gold Star – Uppers And Downers (Autumn Tone Records)

I’m kind of conflicted on this album. On the one hand, some of the tracks sound like they could have been written by Miles Hunt, and The Wonder Stuff are one of my favourite bands of all time, and there are several other songs that have shades of The Verve about them, others Chuck Prophet, or, on occasion,
I Am Kloot. All strong references, but on the other hand, Marlon Rabenreither’s compositions are, by and large, merely ‘pleasant’. Nothing more, nothing less.

Not that being pleasant is a bad thing, of course, but it’s all just a bit too polite to make the kind of impact that you want it to. And I hate saying that, because when I was in bands back in the day, I preferred people to say they either loved us or hated us, rather than just saying “yeah, it’s ok I guess.” I wish I could say I hated this album, but I can’t, because, well, as you know, it’s er…pleasant.

Baby Face‘, if I’m focusing on the positives, has a bit more oomph about it, but even that sounds like a George Harrison album track. “Well that’s no bad thing!” I hear you cry, and you’d be right, but let’s just say I don’t think we’ll be seeing Rabenreither on the cover of Music Pioneers Monthly in 50 years time.

In some ways, I wish this had been a full blown cover album of Leon‘s identically titled long player of 2005, which would have been fascinating, to see what new directions those songs could have been twisted in, but unfortunately (and I use that word in the loosest sense, because it’s…well, the ‘p’ word again…) all we’re left with is a likeable album hugely indebted to the likes of Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne (hang on, is he slowly morphing into each member of the Traveling Wilburys at random intervals?) and sun drenched West Coast pop.

Still, if you’re a fan of the classic singer songwriters of the sixties and seventies, you may well go for this, especially if you like things that are…er…pleasant.

Uppers And Downers is out now on Autumn Tone.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.