Gold Celeste are an emerging Norwegian synth-psych-pop group, whose name sums up exactly what their debut via label Riot Factory seems all about; an air of the precious and heavenly surrounds every song on their album “The Glow”, the name of which was inspired by “the glow every human being is carrying”, according to the band.
The group cites various classics in musical history as influences on their sound, and their particular mention of the Beach Boys and other bands of the era seems important: Gold Celeste’s sixties-influenced, relaxed, psychedelic vibe coupled with waves of harmonies harmonies puts us in mind of the decade – not in exact replication of the sound but in the abstract interpretation of its influence. With the frequent use of beach-y synth and strings, the band’s noted influences of Sigur Rós and Beach House are also very much in evidence. The video for single ‘Open Your Eyes’ encapsulates all that “The Glow” aims to convey, with transcendental melody accompanied by visuals of sunsets, summer days, scenic views and idyllic train journeys. It mixes wanderlust and wonder with the relaxedness that only comes of a specific type of summer, as captured in the album’s bittersweet and beach-like sound.
“The Glow” is peppered with short instrumental tracks and interludes which act as palate cleansers for songs with big ideas: the album presents slight but important – if chilled – existential crises, with its lyrics offering enigmatic truths softened by dreamy melodies, such as “you’ve got your eyes closed / no wonder you cannot see” (‘Open Your Eyes’), and “some say the road is the goal” (‘Time Of Your Life’). The album is a haven for the displaced, cultivating a gratifying ‘us against them’ vibe; ‘Grand New Spin’ sends the message that it’s OK to live simply and not to search for a greater meaning, while ‘The Dreamers’ tackles the universal and terrifying themes of truth, time and love, and simultaneously soothes with the lyrics “but it’s alright”.
While in the main a luxuriantly relaxed collection, “The Glow” still invites some introspection within its musical cocoon. ‘Is This What You Could Not Do?’ is more aggressive than other songs on the album, with clashing cymbals and a speedier tempo. Its title alone poses a sobering question, and the song ends with an instrumental passage which encourages rumination. However, any lyrical challenges seem to be for our own good. The album encourages the listener to think about the important things but maintains an ethereal sense of contentment, ending on the blissfully trippy ‘The Start Of Something Beautiful’ which promises, ultimately, a happy ending for band and listeners alike.
– Heather Billington
Venue: The Glow
Support Band: Riot Factory