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My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

The Golden Filter: Voluspa – album review

The Golden Filter - Voluspa

There’s a lot to appreciate about this electronic-disco pairing from across the pond. The Golden Filter already has a strong word-of-mouth network of support from the blogosphere and is a big-hitting name on Hype Machine thanks to remixes of Cut Copy, Peter Bjorn & John and Empire of the Sun.

Thankfully the debut, Voluspa, has more of those mystic vocals and looping synthesizers from the remixes. New Yorkers, Penelope Trappes and Stephen Hindman, have already released three singles from the album; Solid Gold, whose pulsating beat deftly weaves a mythical tale of a journey through golden landscapes behind a dancefloor backdrop, the disco-happy Thunderbird and Hide Me – a track with popstrel echoes of Kylie at her best.

These aren’t the only tracks of note from the Aussie-American duo, who cleverly walk a tightrope of influences ranging from new wave 80s-synth, French-electro, pure pop and other-wordly Scandinavian folk sounds.

Dance Around The Fire’s quivering violins and ethereal vocals build in suspense to a pounding folktronica close, whilst the coquettish Look Me In The Eye and Moonlight Fantasy have all the staccato beats and imprints of Goldfrapp in Number One.

Trappes’ sentimental, half-whispered Australian accent is coupled with nostalgic memories on The Underdogs, as she muses, “Please don’t take this to the grave, we drift apart again.” Looping melody and bubbling beat layer over each other and swap roles on Frejya’s Ghost, fighting in your ear drum to be the most audible at the crescendo.

Despite the seductive whispering vocals and transfixing disco-electronica, there’s a nagging unoriginality that The Golden Filter never really manage to shake across the 11 tracks. In fairness, Voluspa has no stinkers and there is nothing on the album you would classify as padding.

The duo have self-produced a debut that is so full of identity and is so cohesive and measured that it ends up being a little too formulaic, so much so that on many occasions you just wish they’d have broken from the steady-synth beat and ‘lost it’ in giddy excitement. Similarities to other artists and restraint aside, it is an accomplished debut with musical dips and layers, hinting that The Golden Filter might just be exhilarating live.

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