We are reaching peak electropop.
Much like fossil fuel, I think we’re running out of synth beats. It’s only a matter of time before we are left unable to dance and the global disco lobby — Big Keytar — collapses. We’ll all find out that Casio was not too big to fail. Until then, we’ll have to savor this dance-rock music bubble, because the charm is going to wear off for me after the 300th review.
On that note: Hey guys! Gold Fields’ Black Sun! It’s a bunch of fun, it’s got a beat, and you can dance to it! I’ve got good news: Do you like Friendly Fires? Yes? Good news, this is the exact same band.
But listen to them. Really. It’s worth it. Even if you’re so sick of synths-and-strums that you’ve put a contract out for the murder of James Murphy, you’ll get that bleepy bloopy rush that you get from the best pop albums. As an added bonus, they have an overall “creepy occult ritual meets ‘The Monster Mash'” vibe going on, so if you like to imagine you’re summoning ancient evils with the members of Depeche Mode, songs like “Meet My Friends” will be your jam.
For the pinnacle of Friendly Fires similarity, check out “Dark Again,” which is all twangy guitars and electronic drumbeats. The video is also a great introduction to Gold Fields as a band. When I think Aboriginal visual cues, mystical motifs and more pagan imagery than a Lady Gaga video directed by the Illuminati, I think of a bunch of twentysomething Aussie heartthrobs with asymmetrical haircuts wearing Urban Outfitters hoodies. Hey: Nothing says “new wave revival” like cultural appropriation.
“Treehouse” adds a little tropical/Afrobeat flavor into the mix, matched only in tribal beats by “The Woods.” The latter track also has unsettling chanting, so put that in your Kool-Aid and drink it.
But then Gold Fields gives us “Moves.” Oh, “Moves.” Your video has a seizure warning. You are exhilarating and stressful, like skydiving with sharks. Your lyrics give me a nervous stomach, with their talk of broken arms, hospital visits, mentions of “I couldn’t feel my face” like that’s not a big deal, and ruminations on “what happened on the West Coast.” You sound like the techno song preset on my old keyboard, which sounded like the theme from “Mortal Kombat.” I’ve never drank an entire bottle of Windex, but “Moves” gives me the Cliff’s Notes of the experience.*
Black Sun wraps up with the dark and arcane “Anxiety,” which also treats guitar chords like a game of Whack-a-Mole. It’s after this song that I realized Gold Fields is basically the darkest timeline version of Walk the Moon, and everything made a little more sense. If Gold Fields is going to make the same dance-rock record everyone has heard a thousand times, then by all means, make that record’s evil twin. Being bad can be fun.
*At the age of 4, I drank an entire of bottle of Dimetapp, because child-proof caps are just speed bumps on the way to happiness. I got to go have an X-ray taken. Did you get drunk before you were in kindergarten? Show your work.
(1) “Meet My Friends”
(2) “Dark Again (Lights Out)”
(8) “The Woods”