Album: El Goodo

El Goodo, Placid Casual
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The Independent Culture

If the appearance of bands such as The Magic Numbers and Hal indicates fresh interest in the classic West Coast virtues of close harmonies and sweet melodies, the Welsh combo El Goodo should be well placed to capitalise. The Big Star reference in their name might suggest a slightly tougher rock sound than that employed here, which favours more graceful, subtle strains of jangly folk-rock and swirling psychedelia, the quintet's lush harmonies embellished with the full panoply of strings, horns and pedal steel guitar. If the Numbers are the new Mamas & Papas, and Hal the new Beach Boys, El Goodo are at least the new Association, with additional tints of Love and The Byrds audible in the likes of the Spanish-tinged trumpet (recalling Love's "Alone Again Or") in "I Saw Nothing", and the 12-string Rickenbacker of "Surreal Morning". The Magic Numbers' plangent harmonies are most closely evoked, however, in "If I Were a Song", whose lyric charmingly continues, "I'd be about you, baby". There's a sizeable tranche of drone-rock in some songs, blending surprisingly well: the opening "Life Station" recalls the less testing work of My Bloody Valentine; "Here It Comes" could be a Spiritualized cosmic boogie, and "Honey" is a dead ringer for the sweeter parts of the Jesus and Mary Chain catalogue. A diverse, absorbing debut.