Removed from everything else, Born Gold (the new moniker for Gobble Gobble) is pretty much an electropop band. Of course they’d easily be the last to embrace such a tag, anyone whose seen the band live can witness to their abject defiance to any notions of conformity (or mellowness, or pragmatism, or, you know, sanity.) My personal introduction to the band came at this year’s Prefix SXSW party – where they turned an 11:45 a.m. set into a bizarre, and uncannily inviting sensory assault, making sure everyone would remember the name. It was a spectacle that was never built for headphones.
Gobble Gobble’s proclaimed evolution into Born Gold is predictably billed as the “slow coaxing of a caterpillar into a butterfly.” Like most things with the band, it’s markedly difficult to tell if they’re fucking around or not. The first record under the new moniker, Bodysongs, is the exact explosively-giddy, flower-power pop we’ve grown accustomed to with Gobble Gobble. Still flossy, and synth-flavored – they work through 10 tracks in less than a half-hour. Much like their live show, they never stop to take a breath. Some of the songs, (“Decimate Everything” in particular) sound like much larger epics condensed to a dizzying blast, like fireworks and cotton candy laid to tape in two-minute intervals.
Some of the stuff can sound like straight-up happy hardcore at its most neon. That’s not meant to be an insult; judged by the earnest, tribal enthusiasm of their live show – you get the sense that the Vancouverites of Born Gold spent their formative years embracing the communal, soft-focus endorphin-rush of golden-age rave. They’re at the right age for it at least, and honestly, Bodysongs can capture some of that fluff if you play it loud enough. For the most part though, the album lands flatly indistinct. The sounds are all unabashedly euphoria-bating, but when funneled towards the listener with such a staunch disregard for nuance, they can come off a little boring, or worse, a little desperate. The greatest relics from the rave generation relied on an arcing build-up, but Born Gold prefer to fling common-denominator hooks with a childlike glee. It can get a little exhausting, even for its brisk running time. Calling 28 minutes of monochromatic electro-joy an ‘LP’ seems fundamentally wrong.
Of course this stuff will undoubtedly slay in a club, and that’s exactly what Born Gold want. It’s clear they’re most comfortable on stage, rather than in a studio, which certainly doesn’t mean their records sound bad. The gripe with Bodysongs isn’t the predictable “man, if only their live show would translate onto the record” – frankly their energy is right at place. The problem is communal vibes, silly costumes, flashing lights, and troll-doll totems don’t translate onto records. As I mentioned at the top, removed from everything Born Gold is an electropop band, but here, they’re an incredibly ordinary electropop band.