|Band:||Bars Of Gold|
|Label:||Rude Records / Equal Vision Records|
Sometimes one just needs a break from metal and the almost absolute darkness that characterizes most of what appears on our pages, sometimes one needs a shelter where to find something that goes beyond our malevolent backyard. Hailing from Michigan, Bars Of Gold gave us a great occasion just to do this with Shelters. The band, born from members of Wildcatting and Bear Vs. Shark, found its way through the independent scene over the ‘1os, thanks to two solid albums such as Of Gold (2010) and Wheels (2013), somewhat leaving behind the stoner and energetic post-hardcore sounds of the two previous projects.
Six years later, after the brief Bear Vs. Shark reunion and after having become a sextet, Bars Of Gold are back, this time publishing their work via Rude Records and Equal Vision Records (known around here mostly for Jane Doe by Converge). Let’s start by saying that the marvellous cover artwork is a little novelty of itself here on Aristocrazia, but make sure you don’t approach this record expecting cheesy and friendly seaside tunes, also because the things we can see in the booklet help us understand the utter unpredictability that awaits us.
Bars Of Gold define themselves as «6 dudes doing dudely things», quite an appropriate description of what happens in the nine tracks composing Shelters. Four guitars (yes, four), one bass and one drum kit, coexisting with the — very post-hardcore — voice of Marc Paffi. “Worthless Chorus” is kind of a badass rock song and a great way to approach the band from Ferndale, which is totally able to change the pace from track to another and even within the same song. Nick Jones’ bass manages to find its well-deserved moments in this forest of six strings (as in “$20”) and we can say that each member adds important parts to the stratified sound of the band, up to including even a couple of external instruments such saxophone and moog. In order to get a quick taste of this, you can watch the official “Sometimes” video, while the sextet prove they can perfectly cope with slower rhythms as well, in “Montana”.
The lyrics, written in the booklet like some sort of secret diary with photos and odd drawings, move somewhere between nonsense, everyday life, and more or less comprehensible reflections about people. With Shelters, Bars Of Gold once again proved to be one of the acts to follow in this field and clearly something much bigger than a simple side-project in the history of Wildcatting and Bear Vs. Shark, like the reunion of the latter might have led us to believe a couple of years ago.
Here all the many influences were mixed, updated, and transformed through the effort and dedication of the sextet from Michigan, creating nine shelters where to discover a style of music which is neither too raw nor too convoluted, but the result of the cooperation between musicians who are completely at ease in their own musical universe. If you want to take a break from demons, total war, and your regular pitch black breakfast, Shelters might be an interesting discovery for your 2019.