on 22 February 2005
WARNING - approach with caution if you have just been through a bad break up. The emotions and subjects explored by this absolutely stunning piece of music are extremely powerful and mercilessly exposed, and you may find this a little near the knuckle if it's just happened to you.
Based loosely around the messy and painful break up of a relationship and its aftermath, Golden Virgins' Songs of Praise is a collection of songs that show the many sides of human relationships and the pain they cause. It pulls no punches, but instead of being depressing it is simply compelling and truthful, thanks to the absolutely stunning quality of the songs.
I suppose you could call this indie - it certainly isn't your typical mainstream blandfest - but it doesn't really fit into one category apart from the one marked Really Good Music. They do a really nice line in rocking tunes with scuzzy guitars backed up by driving keyboard riffs - when U2 released their customary power single from their new album, they appear to have drawn on the Golden Virgins for inspiration and new ideas - but whatever the song needs, they deliver. Sleep With Me Tonight is about a man talking his ex into bed after a drunken evening, and they conjure up a superb atmosphere of boozy seduction with a sleazy brass section backing up.
Staying Sober describes a man at his very lowest point: "My father has disowned me, and my Mother's died of shame/And my brother wants to kill you, because he knows that you're to blame." That should tell you how strong this stuff is. Spurned lovers aren't just crying themselves to sleep here - they're in f***ing PAIN.
If you like good music with real feeling in it, ranging from stomping rock to tender ballads, you really need to buy this album. If anyone feels the need to write a song about lost love, despite the definitive versions all being on this record, they should listen to the Golden Virgins to see just how high the bar has been raised.
Sorry to keep griping about this though, but why don't Amazon music sales show up on the national charts? They are a far better measure than the crappy way they "Sample" sales for the Gallup etc charts. Perhaps Amazon should sponsor a TV chart show to resolve this.
on 6 August 2005
The other reviews here seem to hit the mark. At first the album seems confused about what it wants to be, chopping and changing musical styles and influences varying from Smog to Supergrass to Stereolab. After a few listens, you realise that these guys are masters of all trades - 'Staying Sober' really is the sound of a broken heart shattering into a million pieces; 'I am a Camera' and 'Renaissance Kid' are indie-pop classics and 'Light In Her Window' is the top ten smash that never was. Do yourself a favour - buy this album, or even better, get these guys a new record deal!
on 14 July 2004
Recommended by an overly enthusiatic friend and purchased with a grudge I'm pleased to admit that this album is an absolute triumph. It took a couple of listens before i realised I was humming "Light in her window" or drumming my cutlery to "Renaissance kid", the highlight of the album. These guys really ought to be heard and after playing Glastonbury and T in the park, its a matter of time before they achieve the success they deserve. An excellent album all round.
on 11 February 2005
There cannot have been a finer debut since Beethoven's 1st (in C). But if pushed I would actually give the Golden Virgins 'Songs of Praise' the edge. Mainly because of the superior lyrical content and style.
As far as I know, none of band are deaf - which maybe gives this Sunderland based quartet a distinct advantage over the 1800's composer turned loveable St. Bernard.
Just buy it for f**ks sake.