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Holy Golden - Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way

by Howard Scott Rating:9 Release Date:2018-10-26
Holy Golden - Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way
Holy Golden - Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way

Nomadic American duo Holy Golden blend dream-pop, psych rock and even some good old-fashioned folk on their new EP “Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way”, which will find it’s way into the world October 26th on Wallflower records.

Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti met in a record store that Andrew was working in on Martha’s Vineyard, during a lunar eclipse, no less, and the pair has been making their own style of music ever since. Valenti handles the majority of the instrumentation for the recording, and Schott contributes the lyrics and vocals. Mike Mackey also lends a hand with bass lines and a synth intro on one cut.

“Lost Island” begins with inviting guitar licks that compliment Schott’s willowy vocals. Her voice is unique but does have distant echoes of Molly Hamilton of Widowspeak and the Cults’ Madeline Follin. Her top of the register tones gives each slice an ethereal and dreamy mood, which is furthered along by Valenti's talents. Schott’s lyrics create an emotional journey through angst, introspection and a wordsmith’s appreciation for the sometimes unwelcoming world. She especially uses references to animals and nature to create her short stories and conscious dreams.

The second presentation is “Strength”, which Schott uses as a handbook for everyone, but probably more likely persons of her gender, to find their own self. “If someone tells you what to be / listen, follow along. But no one knows how you should be. / They just love what you’re doing wrong” she advises, with a firm but not condescending tone.

A more intense and pulsating beat kicks off “Seven of Diamonds, which again features lyrics that must be rigorously absorbed to get the full picture. “But if I came from your body / and will go to the earth you went back to / I know you know now / what I always saw in you” makes up the chorus in an inner-directed odyssey.

A tribal bass-tom drum line grabs attention in “Sun Swallows the Moon” which leans heavily on natural beauty to illuminate the imagination. Schott sings of fireflies, celestial objects, and sparrows, which seem more vicious than your common little brown bird. “Though sparrows swoop to eat us alive / our lanterns burn bright.”  she warbles, creating a mental image not usually associated with sparrows. But really, it doesn’t detract from the general beauty of the song, and every lyricist is allowed a bit of creative license now and again.

“Lock Jaw” jumps into total psych-rock territory with a much more determined and aggressive sound. Valenti’s guitar work powers through the chorus and for the only time on the disc actually overtakes the vocal track. Biting alligators, a white horse, and blue snake make an appearance here to aid the visualization of the drama. As one can quickly tell by gazing at the album cover photograph, Holy Golden also are visual artists when not making music, and it is easy to pick up on their other talents by listening to these sort of ingredients in the music. You can’t really absorb the lyrics without seeing colors and creatures in your head.

The ebbs and flows of life are once again brought to the forefront with more imaginary descriptions to enhance in “Wheel of Fortune”. Pegasus, winged lions, birds, a black dog, a friendly bear, and a promise-inducing dove help create a story that blends desperation with hope to give the listener a taste of everyday life that most all can relate to. 

With the title track, “Sleepwalkers in The Milky Way”, Schott and Valenti fall right into full folk mode with an offering of acoustic guitar and vocal that tosses all the electronic production out the window. Here, the pairing just shows off the raw talent that has carried them to success and admiration. Again, a tone of desperation is evident, but as the lyric states, ”This story has a happy ending / The characters wake up and stop pretending.”

The same happy ending is there for anyone taking in Holy Golden’s craft on this EP. It offers seven cuts of pleasurable and insightful music that is impressive and inviting to ingest into the gray matter. It is a  beautiful, surreal and much-admired achievement of first-class songwriting by both members.

 

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