Gwilym_Gold

On ‘A Paradise’, the ex frontman of Golden Silvers trades quirky psych-funk for something altogether more reflective and introspective, aligning himself closer to the Canterbury Scene than modern indie pop. The stakes, you sense, have been raised, and this, his solo debut album, could be make or break as he moves into the artistic hinterland of his thirties. Luckily, Gwilym Gold’s experiment works. It appears he just needed time to mature, though possessing a voice that seems to be able to plumb the depths of bass in one breath and the upper reaches of falsetto in another also helps.

The highlights are myriad, and it’s clear that Gold’s skill as songwriter, musician and producer have all been bolstered. He loves to develop a chord sequence and the hands of Glass and Reich are felt throughout (‘Evergreen’, ‘Uninvited’), while ‘Triumph’ balances pummelling, early Aphex percussion and gentle, measured vocal interplay with incomprehensible dexterity. ‘Flex’, which draws on the same quasi-monastic choral sounds that James Blake played with on his second LP, is another standout as it gradually grows into a melancholy neo-soul anthem, Gold setting his meditation on the human form to layered vocals that fight walls of electronic distortion.

‘Greener World’ and ‘Breathless’ both take post-OK Computer Radiohead as their template but, unlike countless other pretenders to that piano-driven, jazz-infused crown (think Coldplay), Gold manages to fashion something genuine and new out of a tried and tested sound.

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