For a band signed to Thrill Jockey, a label renowned for progressive, instrumental post-rock bands such as Tortoise, Trans-Am and the minimalist indie rock of The Sea and the Cake. This self-titled album from San Francisco's Golden Void however, is decidedly more meat-and-potatoes 70's rock than anything the legendary Chicago label is stereotypically known for.
With a sound that falls between the overblown paunch of Deep Purple and the nasal vocals of Ozzy-era Sabbath, Golden Void makes for a confusing listen. Throughout the seven songs and countless guitar solos there is a nagging feeling that you are listening to a lazy weekend jam session between friends. Sure, there are highlights such as 'Virtues' percussive groove backed with the fiery guitar solos and reverbed vocals of Frontman Isaiah Mitchell but for every highlight there are far too many dull spots when the listeners attention begins to wander and ultimately fades.
Songs like 'Jetsun Dolma' and 'Curve' suffer from directionless riffage and meandering songs that seem to wait around for another Bland Wah-Wah drenched solo from Mitchell to take centre stage. The latter is one of Golden Void's weaker moments, a hoary riff that would make Kiss excuse themselves and leave the room combined with yet more tiresome soloing. Golden Void all too often turn their back on the listener, satisfying themselves and burying their music in self-congratulation. It's the aural equivalent of a guy or girl inviting a prospective partner back to their flat just so they have someone to watch them masturbate, a self-serving act that has no satisfaction for the onlooker whatsoever.
There is no doubt that Golden Void aren't a tight musical band. Each member technically proficient and capable of locking into a groove and methodically hammering each riff home but that's where it stops. There isn't much in the way of spark or the kind of spontaneity that should hook the listener in and defy them to turn off or skip forward for fear of missing something truly mind-blowing. Golden Void as an album should be fearlessly experimental and unafraid to fly by the seat of its pants, not drowning in its own musical smugness.