With today's release of Beyond Wilderness, Vancouver's Gold & Youth unleashes a beautiful dichotomy onto the Canadian soundscape. The quartet's debut full-length album is heavily awash in new wave nostalgia, but splashes of brightness punctuate the dreamy synths and the restrained percussion and catapult the sound directly into tomorrow. It makes for decidedly addictive listening.
Swirling in wistful nostalgia, Beyond Wilderness wears cited influences like Depeche Mode and Avalon-era Roxy Music proudly on its sonic sleeve. The sumptuous 80's feel of the album marries well with the cinematic melancholy of tracks like “Come to Admire” and the darkly seductive “Time to Kill”. Both “Time to Kill” and the hypnotic lead track “City of Quartz” were previously released as a 7″ when the band first signed with Arts and Crafts. The nine tracks of new material that are bookmarked between these two older songs sound every bit as lush and just as pretty.
Beyond Wilderness fluctuates between spare industrial blips swept by muted choruses and big fat juicy beats, reminiscent of The Knife, that drip like raindrops on steel drums. Hazy boy-girl choruses soften the authoritative baritone that lead vocalist Matthew Lyall brings to the majority of tracks on the album. At times reminiscent of The National's Matt Berninger, at other times channelling The Preset's Julian Hamilton, his voice has just the right amount of pathos to counter the escalating singularity behind the electronic beats. When newest band member Louise Burns steps in to provide lead vocals on the surrealistic track “Jewel”, her rich voice, combined with a dark and dreamy chorus, makes the track a standout on an album of standouts.
Darker than dream pop, more lavish than electronica, Beyond Wilderness fills a void in our musical lives that we probably didn't even know existed. Its sweeping dreamscape of dark corners and distant lightning on sultry nights makes for a deeply satisfying album.
Check out Gold & Youth's upcoming tour, which includes a May 19 stop at The Palomino in Calgary and an appearance at NXNE in Toronto on June 15.