12 Songs, 46 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

JoshuaT. ,

An underappreciated gem.

First of all, ignore the iTunes official review. When someone quotes U2 in favorable manner, you can assume a lot of things, the most important ones being that they are well past the age of 30, and have stopped caring about good music years ago.

A note, up front, is that the iTunes album is missing track 2, "Glorious #1," which is a conspicuous absence given that it is glowingly mentioned in the official review. In any event, the omission, while sad for the true fan, won't end up hurting your appreciation of the album. So why is this album so good, you ask? I'm a softie for album-length works (for example, The Beatles "Abbey Road") because if you can get me to consistently give up 60-ish minutes to listen to your record, you've accomplished quite a feat. Remy Zero took their previous effort, "Villa Elaine," which had already run laps around their first, rougher, self-titled debut, and produced a remarkably cohesive, listenable album. The jump in quality from "Villa Elaine" to "The Golden Hum" is less a quantum leap, and more the fact that Remy Zero nailed all the little things. The iTunes review would have you believe that this album drowns in averageness, and you might be tempted to believe them what with less than 20 reviews for this album, but I hope to persuade you that this is simply not true. Cinjun Tate's voice emotes more depth on this album, the songs more clearly mark themselves even while standing together as a singular piece, and the mood tells of a loving attentiveness to the haunting quality of the record.

The songs bleed into one another in a such a liquid, seemless manner that the first time I heard the album lead-in to the single, "Save Me," I was literally startled out of my seat. This is the kind of album that rewards a sit-down listen by locking out the world around you for one of an intense aural experience. It is said quite often, but I find more and more to love each and every time I listen to this album.

"Save Me" is the rockingest song here, and it is not even the best song on the album. While it's harder to choose to standout tracks from thoroughly consistent efforts such as this, my personal favorites include "Belong," a simple song about a lost love or friendship with the beautiful line, "anywhere with you, I knew I was home." Lines like that can easily be ham-fisted, but Tate's haunting voice instead makes your heart melt. I love it when songs do that to you, and this album consistently brings me good feelings of the sort that remind me feel life is both beautiful and worth living. The hidden track, labeled on iTunes as "Sub Balloon," is also an incredibly strong track, a soft mind-melt of a song.

If you are familiar with "Villa Elaine," this album is close in spirit to the songs "Gramarye" and "Fair" (which was on the soundtrack for the film "Garden State," if you're into that sort of thing).

You will not be disappointed if you give this album a few spins. Happy listening.

Pink i-pod ,

save me

I got the album thanks to smallville using Save Me. It's a brilliant song! But I never expected to enjoy the entire cd. Every song on this album is wonderful. Thanks to Smallville I found a great band.

Sneaky Little Devil ,

Simply Ignore the Comparisons

I found this album in a pile of cd's someone left in the lobby. Almost all of them got put back, but this one stayed. It grabbed me right out of the gate and kept running all the way thru. Albums that hold the attention from start to finish, that contain zero filler, are a rare breed these days. Back when albums came on vinyl, there was a de facto 45 minute limit on the whole, which forced artists and producers to make choices, to filter out all but the strongest material. Every once in a great while the expanded content of the cd is actually filled with music that merits placement on the record; this album is one such creature.

The comparison to U2 is fascinating to me; first of all, I don't hear it, and I'm a stickler for spotting derivatives. Second of all, U2 is (imho) a band that consistently packages one or two amazing songs within an otherwise bland collection of emotionless meanderings. While there is a textural similarity in the sonics of this record vs. Achtung Baby --- both are on the darker tip, rife with distortions, and tastefully sprinkled with psychedelic effects --- Remy Zero's production has significantly more punch and depth.

Musically, The Golden Hum harkens back to a time when artists went out on a limb and strove to create something different, something that inspires and instigates and demands, and that pays back tenfold for the attention invested. But that's about ethos; in terms of sound and composition, it is thoroughly modern and completely engaging. It is less interested in where we've been and more interested in what's over there behind that bolted door, the one with the strange reddish glow seeping thru the keyhole.

I was bon in 1970, I grew up in an era when music with this kind of passion and novelty was the norm. It's nice to know that 34 years later, some artists not only seek that level of engagement, they succeed. Utterly.

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