Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
Austin Gold are a band local to me in Peterborough (Cambridgeshire, UK) but I’ve never actually seen them play live or heard their music prior to listening to this album for this review.
This is something I need to rectify because with Those City Lights, their 3rd album, Austin Gold have knocked the ball clean out of the park and given themselves a mightily strong standpoint from which to develop their career.
Opening track ‘Never End’ has an absolutely huge Foo Fighters vibe in the vocal melodies with the addition of some storming Hammond organ and thunderous guitars. It rips out of the speakers like a runaway locomotive crushing everything in its path.
At heart it’s a fist pumping rock anthem but still manages to throw in some delightful dynamics in the delicate and slightly psychedelic instrumental section before the Foos Fighters vibe roars back in. It’s a colossal opener and sets the band’s stall out very clearly indeed.
‘Cut and Run’ follows and is another uptempo Rock anthem driven by chugging guitars and Hammond organ. The Foo Fighters influence is there again, but don’t get the feeling that Austin Gold are just copying the gods of modern rock: this is simply not the case as the band’s use of keyboards and the style of the guitar solos give this its own identity.
It’s another huge standout singalong anthem that will slay in the live arena.
Latest single, ‘Our Last Stand’ has a classic Mototwn-esque drum beat, with guitars and keys combining in a delightful piece of soulful Classic Rock. The chorus is unfeasibly catchy and the whole thing has a deliciously light and melodic vibe. A bluesy guitar solo tops the whole thing off to complete perfection. Stunning!
‘Invincible’ combines classic Deep Purple-esque organ stylings with choppy guitar chording and classy Modern Rock vocal melodies. The fact that it’s perhaps not quite as strong as the preceding tracks speaks volumes as to their quality as this is still a mighty fine track.
‘Get In Line’ starts off with the kind of vibe that Bon Jovi had on their more bluesy material from the These Days era, but it fortunately lacks the very obvious chord and melody structures that band used in those kind of tracks, developing rather beautifully into another chordally and melodically clever and very catchy anthem with a wonderful mid-paced vibe. Once again, the guitars and keys combine superbly with the excellent vocals that have been a feature of all tracks thus far.
‘Mountain’ continues the vibe of the opening tracks with the addition of some classic AOR piano. However, there is nothing AOR about this fabulous slice of Classic Rock which is another enormous anthem that deserves to be played at extreme volume from arena stages the world over. It’s been released as a single and rightly so, as it’s hugely infectious with massive vocal hooks and brilliant lead guitars. If there was any justice in the world, this would be selling millions and propelling Austin Gold to the upper echelons of Rock superstardom, it’s that good!
‘Morning Light’ is a stunning ballad with gentle, almost Country-Rock guitar sounds. The production is utterly fabulous, with acres of space allowing the gorgeous vocal melodies and guitar fills to breathe. David James Smith’s lead vocals on this are quite exquisite, moving from delicately gentle to powerfully emotive. It’s another standout track on what is shaping up to be a wonderful album!
The quality level remains extremely high on the quite stunning ‘Days’, which retains the anthemic vibe of the opening tracks and on ‘Hold On Me’ which drops the pace a tad, but combines some powerful unison guitar and keyboard riffs with more highly melodic vocal hooks.
‘Real You’ is more keyboard driven (using wonderful 70s/early 80s sounds), with interesting drum patterns and more highly infectious vocal melodies and guitar lines. There is a brilliant late 70s feel to this whole track which surprisingly fits perfectly into the overall vibe of the album. There is even a bit of a Pink Floyd-esque Prog vibe going on in this one in the instrumental section. It’s different and works brilliantly.
The album closes with the title track ‘Those City Lights’ which is a guitar/vocal ballad. I wasn’t expecting that, as I felt that another huge anthem was on the way. But it’s a cool track anyway and is a different but fitting way to close this excellent album.
This is a very classy album. I’ve mentioned the Foo Fighters influence a few times and I can certainly hear the influence of the more melodic side of that band in this album, but it is so, so much more than that. The band have taken all their influences from across the decades of Classic Rock and thrown them into the melting pot, creating a dish of quite sublime excellence.
There are many truly anthemic songs on this album that beg to be screamed along to, fist in the air in the arenas of the world. I’ve listened to a lot of new albums this year and this is genuinely amongst the ones that I have enjoyed the most.
All members of the band (vocalist/guitarist David James Smith; bass player Lee Churchill; keyboard player Adam Leon and drummer Chris Ogden) put in excellent performances and lift the already excellent songs to new heights.
Do yourself a favour on 4th November when Those City Lights is released – buy it, stream it, hear it somehow. You’ll be glad you did!
- Never End (5:20)
- Cut & Run (3:02)
- Our Last Stand (4:00)
- Invincible (3:48)
- Get In Line (5:22)
- Mountain (4:12)
- Morning Light (4:31)
- Days (4:50)
- Hold On Me (4:56)
- Real You (5:36)
- Those City Lights (2:47
ALBUM LAUNCH SHOW
Austin Gold stage a hometown album launch show at Key Theatre, Peterborough on Thursday 10th November. Tickets available at: https://keytheatre-peterborough.com/book-online/527201
Austin Gold are:
David James Smith (vocals & guitar)
Lee Churchill (bass)
Adam Leon (keyboards)
Chris Ogden (drums)