REVIEW: THE GOLDEN DREGS – A ROLE OF A LIFETIME EP

A defining characteristic amid the story told by The Golden Dregs since its birth and solemnization in May to now, is the fertile nature of its output, seeing two EP’s, an unreleased album, a feature on the Brooklyn label 80N7’s first compilation release, and a single accompanied by a cinematic and optically impressive music video, all lurking somewhere amongst the musical vista of this year. With such prolificness being put down to a ‘freak burst of songwriting’ which occurred sometime last year, The Golden Dregs camp has again emancipated another snapshot of that fertile time period, brandishing in hand ‘The Role Of A Lifetime EP’ to close this years exemplar of raw and unadulterated material.

A concern and question that always pops up into observers minds as they watch an artist continually release new material without let up is, ‘is it just quantity over quality?’ If you’ve followed the back catalogue of The Golden Dregs since the start, however, you’ll see that actually, each release is a shard of personality that fits into a much bigger picture, with each clutch of songs dealing with a narrative and songwriting style that has deep-set substance to keep concerns of repetition and dullness away. In fact, scratching the surface of the first two EP’s, ‘And The Golden Dregs’ and ‘Nobody Got Rich By Making People Sad’ reveals a well of reflective, pensive, thought-out and witty collection of observations and self-lacerations, wrapped up and packaged in a rock ‘n’ roll, untainted exterior. With the previous two efforts dealing with the somber and the sweet, The Role Of A Lifetime carries itself now in a straight-up good time vibe.

The overview of the EP can almost seem like a textbook written on the traditional and classic rock genres. Opener and title track ‘The Role Of A Lifetime’ marks the first chapter of this guide, reveling in the foregone golden era of 60’s Americana and rebellion, basking in up-tempo clatter and undiluted swagger that’s flanked by dingy instrumentation and melody lines that bury deep into your skull. ‘Chance Would Be A Fine Thing‘, sounds like an off-cut from a Yardbirds record, dealing in the haze and nebulous of a vintage summer, riding down an interstate amid blistering heat and swollen tarmac.

As with most Golden Dregs releases, collaborations and input from members of the Falmouth scene have always been welcomed, with a community collective made up of various members of The Red Cords, The Black Tambourines, Lost Dawn and Goddam Nobody, all providing most of the driving rumble and stentorian rhythm on the record. The raucous garage/psych clatter as promoted by the seaside area rises to the surface on ‘Adaptation‘ and ‘Compadre‘, as the songs see founder and chief songwriter of the project, Ben Woods, at his most vivacious and concentrated, as raspy guitar chords swirl underneath the layers of baritone vocals and hushed phrasing. It’s an all round soirée of noise and anti-social behavior come the end of the EP as we hit ‘The Golden Dregs’, the closer and come down to the party. Marching band drums open the song, leading you like a magnet to the saunter of the Black Keys esque groove of lead guitar and attitude, acting like the closing credits and end chapter to the record.

It may have been a party, but there’s still some mystery underneath the good vibe exterior in The Role Of A Lifetime that shows that waters are still running deep amid the songwriting. Indeed, the mantra of ‘The End Is Nigh’ that continues throughout this release may lead to a greater story than what’s first discernible, thus leaving you in the position as you were left in last time when a Golden Dregs release was dropped; eagerly waiting to see what happens next.

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