Golden Age


Ernest Jenning Co., 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Philadelphia's Grandchildren refine their creative orchestral meets electro meets acoustic pop on this sophomore album Golden Age. Though the band began as a solo outfit for frontman Aleks Martray and his looping skills, these days the project has been fleshed out into a six piece with a penchant for melody across folk and pop ideas. While their 2010 debut my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Everlasting was more sample and beat oriented, this follow up is a more organic listen that brings attention to brass instruments, clever layering, and busy instrumentation.

“Sunrise,” an aptly titled first track, delivers intricate musicianship, the instruments weaving in and out of each other with effortlessness and guided by Martray's high pitched pipes. It carries a world music backbone with quaint keys and just feels like an opening tune. The album is stacked heavily towards the front, with the genre defying "End Times" and the dreamy “Golden Age,” and as you get further on in the album things get more varied with the trip-hop influenced "Forward" and heavy vocal layering of "Rain Down." “No Way Out” remains my favorite moment here and after starting out with soft pianos it builds into a hand clapping, horn friendly, joyous affair. With the wealth of instruments on board, amazingly Martray's vocals still soar above everything, and it's not hard to imagine a track like "You Never Know" being mesmerizing even a capella.

The nostalgic vibe here will be inviting for fans of The Flaming Lips or Animal Collective, though it's also on par with younger outfits like MGMT, Caveman, and Kay Kay And His Weathered Balloon. Often it takes numerous listens for an album as meticulous as Golden Age to settle in, but this one sinks in well on the first listen due to the memorable choruses, group harmonies, and melodies that aren't lost in the precise instrumentation.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ernest Jenning Co., and is used for informational purposes only.