Golden Daze: Simpatico
Jacob Loeb and Ben Schwab, of the band Golden Daze, have made a record about a connection that often goes unexplored and unchampioned. Romantic love is a standard subject for songwriters. So is isolation and solitude, and even the intensity of familial connections, parental bonds and estrangement. But friendship gets the focus a little less often. Friendships are, in a way, as complicated and important as our ties to lovers, spouses, mothers and fathers. It’s the very looseness, the fundamentally non-binding nature of friendship, that makes it so powerful. Friends don’t necessarily owe each other anything. They haven’t committed to remain with us. There aren’t any legal bonds. Schwab and Loeb are obviously close friends. They started Golden Daze because of their similar musical inclinations. You don’t spend so much time in a creative partnership without developing an understanding of one another. Loeb and Schwab have a special connection with their vocals, achieving that kind of blending on tracks like “Blue Bell” where their two voices sound blurred together in spots, as if the singing had been smudged by some kind of haunting reverb effect: two separate things morphing into one other distinct entity. “Took A Fall” is dreamy soft-psych rock, with thrumming guitars, tambourine and tumbling, Ringo-ish drum fills, while “Flowers” blossoms into a bed of hazy strings and quiet, almost-whispered vocals, as if everything was heard through a wad of cotton, or cotton candy. The music is sunbleached, washed-out, weathered in a nice way. Fans of Jacco Gardner will enjoy Golden Daze. There’s not a rough edge on this record. It’s like a polished, pillowy, retro-pop buddy movie. Layers of slide guitar add a round glow to the recording. The last song, the title track, ends with a lovely flickering, almost-ambient section, the sonic equivalent of good guys riding off into the sunset.