A fairy-tale beginning for Golden Silvers
Golden Silvers won the new-talent contest to play Glastonbury. Charlotte Cripps finds they're still buzzing
Friday 11 July 2008
The band Golden Silvers, who play fairy-tale indie-pop, shared the prize in this year's Glastonbury New Talent competition and subsequently performed on the Other Stage. Their debut feelgood single, "Arrows of Eros", is released on Monday in a one-off deal with indie record label Young and Lost Club.
If former winners of Glastonbury Unsigned in 2004, The Subways, are anything to go by, Golden Silvers, who are currently being courted by major record labels, have a sparkling future.
Their music harks back to an innocent, more pure age: the latest single, despite its modern disco sound, is a lovelorn song based on the idea of a boy or girl dying from a broken heart.
The uplifting, lyrical, romantic, disco track with Beach Boys harmonies was sent to reviewers in a shiny, gold, bubble-rap envelope, complete with golden heart stickers. It was the No1 download in last week's NME and Jo Whiley has been playing it on her Radio 1 show.
I meet the trio at London's hip Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes before they play a gig, on a tiny stage, situated next to the ten-pin-bowling alleys. Lead singer/songwriter, Gwilym Gold, 25, sings in an old-fashioned way, affecting the pose of an upright aristocrat, while delicately turning to play his Yamaha DX7 keyboard.
He is joined by the bass player, Ben Moorhouse, 23, and drummer, Alexis Nunez, 25, who look like a couple of extras from Jack Black's Nacho Libre. "It shows respect to dress smartly when you perform," says Gold.
Live, Golden Silvers mix their clutch of lyrical songs – "Another Universe", "Lily the Lover", "Dreamgirl Nightmare", "Locked Up My Head", "Train for a Brain", and the next single, "Magic Touch" seamlessly. Each song is a self-contained modern fairy-tale. With their own particular spread of motifs – moonbeams, magic, emerald eyes, palm-readers, wishing wells, stars, constellations, Cupid and gypsies.
The North London trio formed last summer and have supported Mystery Jets on their current tour. With their trademark three-part harmonies, they fuse folk, pop, indie rock, new wave, psychedelia and disco, and have enough material to release a double album, claims frontman Gold. But it seems that the band is suffering an identity crisis. An aside from their manager gives me the impression that they chop and change so much musically that he is trying to encourage them to put the brakes on their creativity. No one song sounds the same as any other.
In the lobby of an adjoining hotel, the trio admit they have never been interviewed. They become hazy about their life, preferring to maintain an air of fantasy, more fitting for their lyrics. "I don't want to say anything that sets us in stone," says Gold. "I prefer not to dwell on the boring basics."
Gold was taught the nuts and bolts of rock'n'roll piano by an uncle before he learnt hundreds of Bob Dylan songs, as well as songs by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, "and old blues and folk songs", in his mission to learn the craft of songwriting. "I also learnt loads of Brian Wilson harmony arrangements," he reveals."I think we are less Kings Road and more Paisley Park."
Gold met Nunez when they were young teenagers, and recruited Moorhouse last year. They now have their own monthly event, Bronze Club, at the Macbeth pub in trendy east London. Not only do they perform here but also they invite other bands along to play, including the talented 21-year-old singer/songwriter/composer Micachu, from Micachu and the Shapes. Gold and Micachu wrote the track "Train for a Brain" together.
It was a surprise for Golden Silvers when they were entered into the Glastonbury competition by their manager, and even more of a shock when they had to play there in front of a judging panel. But, refreshingly, they are far removed from being just another skinny-jean, post-Libertines band from Camden.
"I don't really think we are an indie band," says Gold. "What does that word even mean now? it gets slapped on any old band."
Drummer Nunez is desperate to record an album. "We need finance to continue, but on a much grander scale."
Love songs come naturally to songwriter Gold. "I like the poetic side of songwriting. Back in the old days lyrics used to be richer, with strong imagery. I don't have the same approach to writing songs as a lot of bands around at the moment whose lyrics are mundane," he says.
So where do Golden Silvers see themselves in a year? "Just coming off the Pyramid Stage," says Gold.
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