Album: Jacob Golden

Jacob Golden, Rough Trade
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The Independent Culture

With a Badly Drawn Boy-ish blend of hip-hop and singer-songwriter stylings carrying his frail falsetto, this six-track debut reveals young the Californian songwriter Jacob Golden as an idiosyncratic new voice of immense potential. Golden's greatest strength is his ability to wring huge emotional momentum from the simplest of melodic shifts, a gift best demonstrated in the apologetic lullaby "Polyamory", where the anthemic, yearning chorus suddenly and surprisingly springs from the cover of understated verses, draped in swelling strings. Allied to this grasp of melody is an appreciation of how mystery brings resonance to even the most direct of narrative images. And what's been going on between the lines of "Feeling Like Christmas"?: "Survived my angry dad/Now I've got aloe vera on my bruises/It's feeling like Christmas in my head". The settings for these strange, haunting songs seem to accrete imperceptibly from the merest wisps and suggestions of instrumental colour – a quietly-picked guitar spiked with a few notes of piano counterpoint; a lowing murmur of organ studded with shiny droplets of lap steel guitar – with the occasional breakbeat or rude growl of electric guitar anchoring the track in more earthly realms. Recommended to those inescapably smitten by Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs.