Gold-Bears – Dalliance

[xrr rating=4/5]

Gold-Bears second album Dalliance is an indie noise pop delight, dreamed up by Jeremy Underwood and his new band of emo post-punk friends. Their debut ‘Are You Falling in Love?’ From 2011 proved an ability for catchy pop songs, but this time we have something more pointedly focused and heartfelt.

Listing the likes of The Smiths and The Wedding Present as influences, newcomers to the band may be surprised to learn that Underwood is from Atlanta, Georgia. He is taking an inherently British sound and raising it up with yank enthusiasm, and for the sceptics out there, it totally works.

Their sound on Dalliance is a whirl of fuzzy, slashing guitar riffs, harrowing lyrics and abounding energy. The album opens with ‘Yeah, Tonight’ – not to be confused with the ‘Yeah, Tonight’ from their first album – Underwood has joked recently on the band’s Facebook page that he might consider titling his songs with more imagination. The opener is a duet between Underwood and Emma Cooper – who brings a London influence from her band Standard Fare. It’s quick and sharp, packing plenty of post-punk vigour into the two-and-a-half minutes.

Front man Underwood takes you through the tribulations of the past two years of his life and despite the general upbeat feeling most of the songs bring, there is an angst, a perturbation to these new tracks. If you don’t feel it straight away then it will come crashing down on you at ‘I Hope They’re Right’ – the song you don’t see coming.

There is a combined melancholy and peacefulness in this track, which encapsulates the powerful undercurrent of the entire album. It’s at this point that it surfaces and pulls you under, and moves on to the next before you realise what has happened. The swift change of tone is executed smoothly and it’s pure genius.

Exceptional song writing from Gold-Bears strikes again. The main reason this song hits home is that the album in general is mostly punky and fun – and the short burst that is ‘Punk Song No5’ is the case in point – but Underwood had no fear when bringing a bit of sadness to the forefront.

Whilst many albums manage to successfully and emotively portray one feeling, or one idea, this feels more like an album for life – the good and the bad. The catchy noise pop songs are still there for those who liked ‘Are You Falling In Love?’ But this is more anthemic and well rounded, and makes for a momentous album from Gold-Bears.

Sylvie Metcalfe

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