Golden Animals - Free Your Mind And Win A Pony (Melodic)

Steven Storrie | Monday, 22 September 2008

Golden Animals - Free Your Mind And Win A Pony (Melodic)

In both their looks and their sound, Golden Animals could have come from 1968 just as simply as 2008, and in all the best possible ways. The first and most obvious comparison made with the band is The Doors, and first track 'The Steady Roller' is largely responsible. It’s a great song in the same vein as 'LA Woman', announcing itself as a would-be classic. The playing is tighter than a pair of vintage Bee Gee pants and the song determinedly stomps its foot on the chorus.

There’s more going on here than a Morrison tribute act, however, and Linda Beecroft’s beautiful, ethereal vocals help set them apart.

Intriguingly titled 'Queen Mary (The Flop)' moves at a pace as frantic as The White Stripes' 'Hotel Yorba' and showcases what could be called Tommy Eisner’s 'real' voice, with less of the brooding Morrison tones. It culminates in a white hot noise before giving way to a gentle, lapping calm.

'Ride Easy' is a woozy, feel-good country kind of song containing some dream-like harmonising and 60s lyrics: "Get your tiger in your pocket ... load a flower in your gun ... for old revolutions ... and those to come." It comes into its own on the second verse with a steady, strutting speed that's incredibly rhythmic; it's definitely one of the best on display.

'Try on Me' is a cut-loose rocker with guitar licks swiped from The Delta. It opens with the album's title as its first line and builds into a raucous stormer, like a sun baked Small Faces. It lasts barely 120 brilliant seconds.

The album loses its way slightly in sub-standard country rock before redeeming itself on the final song - the shimmering 'Darkness and Light'. Beecroft sings more here than on any other track, before the song slowly ebbs away into a perfect, peaceful silence.

The band have created an interesting, golden sound that keeps them head and shoulders above The Doors comparisons likely to dog them. Nevertheless this is an album worth escaping into, with a clutch of great songs, plenty of interesting ideas and a captivating look to boot.

Rating: 4/5