July 30, 2005

Goldspot - Tally of the Yes Men

In the rock industry, more emphasis is often placed on the quirkiness of the singer's voice, rather than its quality. This is just one reason why L.A.'s Goldspot is a breath of fresh air. Singer Siddhartha's honey-coated tenor is as diverse as it is piercing, changing from a folky strength reminiscent of Paul Simon, to a more filtered echo in the tradition of flower child Sean Lennon, to the same incredible heights of Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, and the vocals alone would be enough to make this album stand out. However, laid over some of the catchiest pop rock since the Strokes, played by drummer Ramy Antoun, bassist Sergio Andrade, and guitarists Derek Horst and Seth McLain, Tally of the Yes Men absolutely shines.

The farcical title of the album, inspired by Siddartha's time working in a confining cubicle in an office job, only hints at the depth beneath it. Opening track "Rewind," has been in regular rotation on KCRW DJ Nic Harcourt's show Morning Becomes Eclectic, and with good reason. It's hook-laden and xylophone-laced melody takes its cues from the best of classic New Order and the modern garage rock of the Strokes. "Friday" is Siddhartha's vocal triumph, his powerful quivering vocals building to a layered crescendo, complete with violins. "The Guard" moves toward the psychedelic tradition of the Beatles and the Flaming Lips, mixing electronic methods with a decidedly 60's sound. "It's Getting Old" would make Julian Casablancas envious, characterized by an absolutely addictive retro riff, killer drums, and Morrissey-like poignant lyrics: "It's an excuse isn't it/to be the tragic one/strung out on Paxil pills." I dare you to try to follow Saddhartha's advice to " . . . maybe try and sit this one out." More likely, you'll be dancing to this one until the wee hours of the morning.

While nearly every track is strong enough to stand alone, the album as a whole is somewhat inconsistent. The momentum of the first half is broken up by the ironically slow ballad "So Fast," on which Goldspot abandon drums and amps for an acoustic guitar. While it is beautifully sentimental, it seems out of place between the alternative strumming of "Program of the Year" and the loud, climactic "The Assistant." On "Motorcade," Goldspot find a happy middle ground between classical piano and rock guitar and drums, and it is one of the standout tracks on the album for its emotional energy. "In the Post" is a somber end to a largely upbeat album, but relaxation is welcome after such boundless displays of emotional intensity.

Click here to listen to tracks from the album
Click here to pre-order Tally of the Yes Men, to be released Aug. 23 on Union Records