14 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The 11 years between albums were still productive for Beachwood Sparks. After 2002’s Make the Cowboy Robots Cry, its members played with The Tyde, All Night Radio, Mystic Chords of Memory, Frausdots, and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. A reunion for Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary brought them back together, and from the warm and twangy opener, it sounds like they never went away. The dusky, backlit haze of “Forget the Song” picks up where 2001’s Once We Were Trees left off. An aptly titled “Sparks Fly Again” finds “Farmer” Dave Scher’s spectral inflections kissing new life into a familiar cosmic American backdrop. Bassist Brent Rademaker takes the mic in “Mollusk,” a loving psychedelic ode to the Venice Beach surf shop that serves as a hub for the wave-riding band. The shimmering “Leave That Light On” sonically approximates a flickering sunset on ocean surf before “Earl Jean” revisits the group's love for post-Parsons Byrds. With guest musicians Neal Casal, Ariel Pink, Darren Rademaker, Jen Cohen, and Jimi Hey, The Tarnished Gold isn’t just a Beachwood Sparks album—it’s a Beachwood Sparks celebration.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The 11 years between albums were still productive for Beachwood Sparks. After 2002’s Make the Cowboy Robots Cry, its members played with The Tyde, All Night Radio, Mystic Chords of Memory, Frausdots, and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. A reunion for Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary brought them back together, and from the warm and twangy opener, it sounds like they never went away. The dusky, backlit haze of “Forget the Song” picks up where 2001’s Once We Were Trees left off. An aptly titled “Sparks Fly Again” finds “Farmer” Dave Scher’s spectral inflections kissing new life into a familiar cosmic American backdrop. Bassist Brent Rademaker takes the mic in “Mollusk,” a loving psychedelic ode to the Venice Beach surf shop that serves as a hub for the wave-riding band. The shimmering “Leave That Light On” sonically approximates a flickering sunset on ocean surf before “Earl Jean” revisits the group's love for post-Parsons Byrds. With guest musicians Neal Casal, Ariel Pink, Darren Rademaker, Jen Cohen, and Jimi Hey, The Tarnished Gold isn’t just a Beachwood Sparks album—it’s a Beachwood Sparks celebration.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

hvysoul1970 ,

Great...

its Beachwood. Buy it.

natedoggenz ,

sssshhhhhhh.... its summer

The Beachwood Sparks return to release their first album in over 10 years and what a return it is. While each record in their catalog is unique, the Tarnished Gold is their most confident, deliberate and, yes, focused release to date. The music is wonderfully performed and recorded (their best sounding album to date!) while the songs, full of reverb, pedal steel and wonderful vocal harmonies sweep away in a summery swell. The Tarnished Gold is a much more mature and direct record than their previous works, Make the Cowboy Robots Cry and Once We Were Trees (also highly recommended). While still contemplative, much of the intense psychedelia is gone replaced with a much more subtle and easier listening sound much more in kin with their debut album. The Sparks have always been compared to bands like Buffalo Springfield, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds and their influences are certainly present here but the music is fresh, honest and new; rooted but not stuck in the past. The spin-off/solo projects of the Sparks since their hiatus (Mystic Chords of Memory and All Night Radio in particular) creep into the Tarnished Gold as one would expect with wonderful effect. There seems to be more contemplative, quieter songs here (Leave the Light On, Nature's Light, etc) that take a few listens to truly appreciate, again much akin to vocalist/guitarist, Chris Gunst's Mystic Chords of Memory albums, but the band adds so much more here.

Wether you are an old fan or new to the Beachwood Sparks, the Tarnished Gold is a wonderful album and is highly recommended.

boatbutter ,

Welcome back!

Great stuff! Hope to hear more from you guys.

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