Goldheart Assembly – Long Distance Song Effects

An album that takes an indirect and aimless route in trying to please.

It’s not always instantly discernible but once you realise what that nagging sensation infiltrating your ears and pervading your aural faculties is, it’s hard to let go of. Charm. Musical charm. Everything about Goldheart Assembly’s ‘Long Distance Song Effects’ brims with a delicate endearing buzz. From the crackled lo-fi dialogue in the opener to the piano fills that litter the early stages of the record, this is an album that takes an indirect and aimless route in trying to please.

Goldheart Assembly are substituting the energetic, happy-go-lucky pop of their first album for a more sophisticated, slow-burning sound. The charm that oozes out is two parts melody (gentle and sweet), one part presentation (rough round the edges, like a child’s backwards ‘e’) and one part melancholy (sneaky, underlying, but extremely effective). If it were a picture, it would be a sepia-tinged, ever-so-slightly creased capture of some fleeting childhood happiness. While that sounds disgustingly twee and contrived, Goldheart Assembly seem able to make it work.

The songs blend well, while the instrumental moments allow the record to breathe. ‘Stephanie and the Ferris Wheel’ stands out early as particularly bittersweet, conjuring images of joyful isolation. There are still glimpses of the pop punch the London band mastered in their previous work – but it’s certainly much more understated: ‘Billy in the Lowground’ is eerily catchy, while the chorus of ‘Sad Sad Stage’ kicks out towards a grander sound. The less-than polished production is a joy, allowing imperfections and character to seep into each track.

Charm is not a sentiment of exclusivity, but neither is it all-embracing. To some Goldheart Assembly will stand as a fine example of musical romance, but others might not enjoy the beta endearment that washes over the record, and find it dry, maybe even a little dull. Still, these people probably have no heart.

Tags: Goldheart Assembly, Reviews, Album Reviews

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