In late January we posted a track from San Diego two-piece Dirty Gold called “California Sunrise,” which was honestly too warm and inviting to be listened to a cold winter’s day (watching the 60s surfer dude inspired video didn’t help either). Now the sun drenched indie pop ensemble have released their debut EP, ROAR, and it’s as mellow and chilled out as one would have expected, bursting at the seams with afro-pop flair, xylophones, all sorts of eccentric percussion and dreamy pop construction. More appropriately, as ROAR is ideal to hear as you sit by the beach and watch the waves crash, preferably with a beer in hand, it arrived just in time for summer.
Brothers John and Linoln Ballif obviously have no misconception of the music they’re trying to invoke with Dirty Gold, using seagull chirps and sounds of the ocean in “California Sunrise,” maintaining a generally hushed ambiance throughout the EP, and using those enduring melodic guitar riffs that bring Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” to mind. The songs on ROAR are slower, with a certain Beach House like dreaminess to them, rich with discourse pertaining to carefree adolescence and picture perfect summer nights. “I’ve been sleeping far too long/hibernating from your love/I need some summer sun to come and wake me up/let me sink you’ll help me swim/where our love ends my end begins/California sunrise come on and wake me up.” Even where they do go a bit buckwild with the instrumentation―particularly near the end on lo-fi surf thinker “Overboard”―they somehow continue to preserve this relaxing, atmospheric environment.
ROAR ends with a sleepy, yet upbeat jam called “Sea Hare,” evocative of the current shoegazing guitar pop that has become all the rage as of late. It showcases that Dirty Gold are not unusually genre bending, but that they’ve certainly got a knack for songwriting and arrangement. Most of all, it provides us with something to chill out to as we watch the sun come down, as we try to soak up as much of it as we can. C+
ROAR is out April 12th on Autumn Tone Records.