Golden Animals - Free Your Mind and Win A Pony
Miss Fliss 30/07/2008
It all sounds very romantic. Boy meets girl in Brooklyn. Off they up and leave to travel the world, with just a suitcase, an acoustic guitar, and a tambourine. Along the way, in a café, a clairvoyant sits next to them and tells them their fortune. The couple are spurred on to get back to Brooklyn immediately and start making music in a velvet-covered basement. The couple are Tommy Eisner (born in Baltimore) and Linda Beecroft (Sweden), and they named their band in honour of some of the clairvoyant's words, Golden Animals - not to be confused with Golden Silvers.
The resultant music in the absurdly titled album Free Your Mind and Win a Pony is blues-heavy American rock and roll, bordering on 60s garage. Slide guitars, howling Hendrix-wannabe lead singer, and plenty of hippie-chick backing vocal rule the roost here. Tambourines and 60s revivalist grooves sometimes seduce me (a la, say, the Brian Jonestown Massacre), but with Golden Animals, I'm left feeling decidedly uninspired. It's not enough to dismiss this simply for its copycat throws of retroisms, it's also a drag. Melody and choruses are notably missing in the main, so it's no 60s rock and roll fun. I fear we may be in the realms of the 'chill out' album (if chilling out involves jazz cigarettes and staring blankly up at the ceiling).
'Even in 200 years, people will find completely different ways to recreate [the blues]', we're told. Not so here, and worse still this is primarily slow-paced, slide guitar amblings going nowhere special.
A saving grace arrives halfway through in 'Turn You Round' which recalls the White Stripes' cutesy 'We're Going to be Friends' in its playful nagging (possibly stolen nearly wholesale from that Stripes song) melodies, and it's the only likeable track throughout, for me. Mercifully, the album is but 30 minutes long, so I feel spared. If Golden Animals could just give us some golden tunes, we'd be in heaven, because as musicians they clearly have ability.
My mind wasn't freed in this experience, so I'm guessing I don't win that pony to ride off into the sunset with, which is a shame, as some kind of escape plan would be useful.
Release date: 4th August 2008.