It seems that the push for retro rock is continuing unabated, and I am personally looking forward with great anticipation to new releases this year from Blues Pills and Scorpion Child, acts that in years gone by have both ridden high in my annual best of year lists here on Ave Noctum. However, whilst I wait for those to arrive, I had the unexpected pleasure of being introduced to Brooklyn’s own ‘The Golden Grass’ with their second full length album ‘Coming Back Again’, and whilst the aforementioned acts lean more heavily on harder classic blues rock influences, I’ve a feeling that The Golden Grass may have some more wide ranging and dare I say it, hippyish influences from days of yore.
‘Get It Together’, opens the album with a sound and matching title that could have floated through time on a fog of THC from the heyday of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury ascendancy, harmonised vocals and trippy playing evoking a time of flares, bandanas, love and peace. This sound is built upon with the jazzy structure of ‘Reflections’, albeit it positively sprints past at barely five minutes long despite having the same loose feeling of a half hour Grateful Dead jam session, whilst the eight minute plus follow up ‘Shadow Traveler’ (no, not a typo) lets the band get their Psyche on in the meandering opening, all before the song tightens up with a strong blues injection complete with a wailing harmonica swapping solos with the guitar, the beats ranging from the rocking to the blissed out time and again within the one song.
The love-in of California of the sixties is again encapsulated with the simple acoustic instrumental pluckings of ‘Hazy Daybreak’, all before the band explore the darker side of psychedelia in ‘Down The Line’, a track that wanders from the opening lightness of The Allman Brothers before travelling into the introspective sonic explorations of early underground Pink Floyd, complete with fuzzy power chords matched by urgent racing drums in an extended middle break. Closing the album in suitably bombastic fashion is ‘See It Through’, a full on retro rock number that is equal parts Cream and Grand Funk Railroad; indeed, if the track had been offered unidentified for review I’ve little doubt that it could have been mistaken for a lost offering of a bygone age, found on an eight track tape and dusted off for the modern audience.
On ‘Coming Back Again’ The Golden Grass have managed to capture an authentic sound of yesteryear, avoiding the over polishing that adversely infects of much of modern music, instead managing to capture an almost spontaneous sound. For that, they can only be commended.