The Gold Sounds' self-titled, debut EP is not an exercise in showoffery. There's no mind-bending guitar solos, no time signatures questioning standard musical notation and no quirky elements that smack of an effort to deny obvious influences. It's just four solid hard-rock tunes.
True, it's easier to escape flaws when you're not trying for a higher degree of difficulty. And The Gold Sounds' tunes certainly wouldn't prove difficult in a Guitar Hero format - even on expert setting. But perhaps its members are just mastering the art of good songwriting before taking things to a higher level.
The Gold Sounds EP carries an unmistakable resemblance to 2000s groups such as Kings of Leon, Wolfmother and The White Stripes, who are themselves unmistakably influenced by ''60s outfits like Cream, The Who and the Rolling Stones. It starts off with the jangly "Champagne," a verse/chorus/verse ditty signaled by vocalist Sean Donnelly's move from croon to swoon. "Keep It Rolling" is hard rock as its best driven by brother Dee Donnelly's stomp-friendly, cymbal-heavy drum beat.
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"Two Ways" takes top honors with a high-repeat factor likely to be the reason you rarely make it to the EP's bluesy, bright-guitared closer "Parfum." "Two Ways" is an instant heartbreaker hit. Chris Fuentes adds a touch of polish to his guitar sounds to welcome Sean Donnelly's howling vocals.
Fuentes then fills the background with fuzzed-out guitar picking that hits high and low notes as if to cue your emotional ups and downs. The Gold Sounds pull all the pluses of hard rock and string together tunes that won't fade in tomorrow's latest genre craze. - Dusti Rhodes
Note: At the moment, the EP is only available at Gold Sounds shows. But tracks 1-3 and the unreleased "College Radio" are available at the band's MySpace page.