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Los - Gold

Sargent’s astonishing voice keeps you enthralled.

Atmosphere is a hard feeling to nail on a record. Try too hard and, well, it sounds like you’re earnestly convincing everyone how deep you are. Half-arse it and it sounds as if you just smelt the money train rolling into the charts. So despite ‘Gold’ being Los’s fourth release, within ten seconds you don’t know whether to run for the nearest hill or soak it all up. I’d suggest the latter.

Starting with the bellow from Helen Sargent’s Moog, it immediately places you at the centre of her troubled world. “I thought I heard you screaming out my name / …it was just you crying out in pain”. Despite lyrics that would make White Lies red in the cheeks, Sargent’s astonishing voice keeps you enthralled; it’s as loud as any instrument on here and wins out when taking on the flurry of drums and guitars.

Unfortunately, the parts never quite add up as well as you hope. The song builds and builds upon itself until it has no chance but to break down into a wall of furious sound, but when it happens there’s very little payoff. It jitters, stops and starts, thrashes like there’s no time left in this macabre world. And then it stops. Just like that. It’s not as if this isn’t listenable, it just lacks the see-saw intensity of the preceding two minutes. Instead of jolting you, it just sounds as if they weren’t sure on how the song should finish.

But it’s also clear they can do the fiery release that they aimed for at the end of ‘Gold’. ‘The Game’, the B-side, starts off by smacking your ear drums senseless and then continues to assault them with a ferocious hook and an verse that gives you time to catch to breath, just so the chorus can hit you again, except harder. Stylistically, it sounds closer to Nirvana’s grungy punk than ‘Gold’’s malevolent ambiance, but it’s arguably all the better for it.

Still, it’s more than good for those of you who like their music with a dark soul. It shows flashes of brilliance that bands aiming to be “atmospheric” rarely do, and if Los can iron out the kinks in the song writing, they could well be one of the few bands who can put some weight behind their punch.

Tags: Los Porcos, Los, The Mae Shi, No Age, Weezer, The Blood Arm, Reviews

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