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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where have I been !!!, 13 July 2012
S.R.J "ssocialdrummer" (Huddersfield) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tarnished Gold (Audio CD)
My first foray into Beachwood Sparks territory.....what have I been playing at to miss these guys!!

Apparently their first album in 11 years. Initially I am reminded of Gram Parsons or the Byrds, its firmly rooted in the west coast 1970s era. Gorgeous jangly guitars with a hint of country twang here and there,lovely harmonies aplenty,in much the same way The Fleet Foxes do, but oh so much better in my view. It is in this sense that they were kind of ahead of the curve with their earlier material but current mores and tastes seem to plant them firmly back in the current trend of more mellow, slightly ethereal, but sophisticated melodic pop/rock.

You are walking through tall grass with the sun on your back with hardly a care in the world when listening to this really is that gorgeous.It comes across as very heartfelt and simple emotional material such as "lay down the weight that I've been holding and hope that the spring melts the winter in my heart", but you just know its sincere.

One fault , the track- "No Queremos Oro", dont get it, doesn't fit, seems out ofm place...but one track alone does not diminish the artistry of the album as a whole.

This is sublime beautifully crafted where is my debit card, need a few more of their albums.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I Love A Happy Ending....", 14 Aug 2012
J. Willis (London, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tarnished Gold (Audio CD)
So after all these years, and within seconds of hearing the opening song from 'The Tarnished Gold', and it really does feel like Beachwood Sparks have never been away. If they were out of fashion first time around, eleven years later, things look very different. You only need to look around and see the company they keep(Neal Casal, Ariel Pink and Jonathan Wilson, among others) to know that this is as good a time as any to be back. Whilst 'The Tarnished Gold' is probably less psychedelic than their previous two albums, it still has its heart in the country/folk California pop of the 60's and 70's. Lots of acoustic guitars and harmony vocals, perfect for those lazy summer days. It's a very strong album and possibly their best yet. My favourite tunes at the moment are 'Forget The Song', 'Water From The Well', 'Talk About Lonesome' and 'Earl Jean'. Welcome back Beachwood Sparks, just don't leave it so long next time, and to quote 'Earl Jean', "i love a happy ending".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Americana gold (slightly tarnished ), 13 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Tarnished Gold [VINYL] (Vinyl)
A long waited album (mine is on vinyl ),i am just getting my head back to how good these guys are,if you like this ,the last album is better,but still one to get,just check out a few tracks via preview sites,and buy,also worth checking out jonathan wilson,if this is your bag!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A contender for Album Of The Year 2012., 3 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Tarnished Gold (Audio CD)
I have to confess, Beachwood Sparks were a new name to me but it turns out they've actually been around before and that this is a bit of a comeback album for them. About ten years ago they released 2 albums and an EP then went their separate ways, now they have returned in fine fine style, with one of the albums of the year so far.

Musically we're firmly in the territory frequented by the likes of The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, the late 60′s/ early 70′s vibe but there's also a distinct hint of later British bands like Slowdive and Ride on some tracks. Sunshine shoegazing anyone?

Some reviewers have mentioned that maybe the time just wasn't right for their earlier stuff and now that the likes of Fleet Foxes have come along they have more chance of success. Having had a listen to the first two albums I'm not sure I entirely agree. The reason this one will gain acceptance is because the material is just so much better than before, if you have good enough songs, you make your own times. And believe me, they have good enough songs now................
The whole album has a similar feel running throughout, it's very laid back, in no hurry to get where's it's going, a good thing in my book because this is a treat you can kick back to and savour in leisurely style.

Mostly it washes over you in a kind of glorious technicolour haze, a musical fog which wraps gently round everything in its path. Broad sweeps of acoustic guitars, pedal steel, piano,'s a wonderfully constructed soundscape.

Vocals, for the most part, are slightly buried in the mix, rather than a stand-out feature. A wise decision, they become part of the whole picture, completing it. There are some, many, wonderful harmonies on the go as well.

Early highlights include "Sparks Fly Again", a charming country shuffle about the bands reunion and love of the music they create together, and title track "The Tarnished Gold", surely a metaphor for life itself and those times when something (love?) goes wrong and you get hurt but you realize deep down that it was all worthwhile and you're still happy to be here enjoying life.

It's been sequenced well this one, the overall feel of the album laid out early, a smoothed out blissful sound with no rough edges, never bland though.

There are however a few interestingdiversions which work well, essential to break the mood a little, lend some variety and prevent proceedings from becoming just TOO samey.

As such "Talk About Lonesome" comes in at the perfect time, it's a relatively straight ahead track (in this context), that could have slotted easily into one of Gram Parsons solo albums. A lovely song.

It's followed by two tracks ("Leave That Light On" and "Nature's Light") which (for me) don't lend much to proceedings, decent but not essential.

We're back on track almost immediately, fortunately, with "No Queremos Oro", which I totally love, the sound of a stoned, mellowed out Mariachi band which even comes with its own built in translation, or am I just hearing the voices in my head again?

From here they never put a foot wrong and the journey to the end is sublime.

"Earl Jean" may well be the best track on here, channeling the pure spirit of The Byrds when the guitar playing genius/legend Clarence Whyte was in the band. It's an amazing tune, glistening guitar snaking throughout, kicking off into a sprightly stomp after 2 minutes, a glorious galaxy of sound which is curtailed too soon for my liking.

"The Orange Grass Special," again a traditional(ish) turn from the norm albeit with the Sparks twist of originality thrown in. And finally, appropriately, "Goodbye" quite the most sublime kiss off you'll hear on any album, this or any other year.

Now, if you'd asked me to venture a guess as to just who'd make the Album Of The Year for 2012 I'd have probably went for Band Of Horses or maybe The Felice Brothers, artists I love who've made near classic albums lately. Beachwood Sparks have sped to the very front of that race however with this surprise contender which has come out of nowhere, it's a real delight, a joy which gets better with every listen.
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