As the intake of music expands at an ever growing pace thanks to the proliferation of Spotify, Pandora, and other likely services, the ways in which fans interact and follow bands is also constantly evolving. This constant attachment creates not only a sense of ownership over a group, but especially for those who thrive in a local music scene, it compounds the pressures and expectations assigned to their success. As this pertains to Minneapolis’ Solid Gold, it sort of works in the opposite sense. It’s been four long years since the release of their exciting debut album Bodies of Water, and while the group has dissolved to work on other projects in that time, most of the hype and the band’s cult following has dispersed along with it.
Along with all that, the band’s tenacity and youthful appeal has gone missing, too. The pounding bass and hypnotic synthesizers of “Get Over It” and “Synchronize” on Bodies of Water has been traded for the whisper of acoustic guitars and uninterested, echoing vocals on Eat Your Young. Instead of expanding upon the glamorous, indulgent sounds that made Bodies of Water such a success, much of this new effort feels timid in comparison. Which might not come as a surprise, though, to those who closely follow the midwest collective Gayngs.
Involving themselves in various capacities with the group, both in the studio and on tour, there’s no doubt that Solid Gold have drawn inspiration from Gayngs’ more folk oriented members like Justin Vernon and Michael Lewis. While Eat Your Young still incorporates a great deal of electronic keyboard and scaling, entrancing bass work, the record is composed relatively methodically and fails to contain anything worth revisiting. “Elephants” is one of the few exceptions, a sinuous, explosive track that relies on the guitar’s tickling, sparse notes and lead singer Zach Coulter’s haunting voice. It’s the mix of electronic spontaneity and absorbing rock that makes “Elephants” exciting, but the band so rarely revisits those traits with equally bold execution.
Instead, there are tracks like “Sold Gold” and “All The Way Until It Stops”, confusing yet ambitious additions that pull from an array of sources in a confusing, patternless manor. The latter features wobbling, oscillated keys mixed with slide guitar and confusing, hardly enunciated vocals building to a solo grand piano break and a chorus of backup singers repeating the chorus. It’s hard to know what to make of something so disjointed.
The bouncing, New Wave slanted madness that surrounded their early recordings is gone, and while a great deal of change on a sophomore album is not an immediate strike, it’s hard not to wish Solid Gold didn’t try and build upon that initial success. Sadly, Eat Your Young is largely uninteresting, a collection of meandering, aimless songs.
Essential tracks: “Elephants” “Six Days”