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The Golden Year

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 11 Oct 2010
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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Oct. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fire & Manoueuvre
  • ASIN: B0041KIVF6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,570 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Jackson's Last Stand
  2. These New Knights
  3. Dance the Way I Feel
  4. Outside
  5. Better
  6. The Key
  7. Our Lives
  8. The Feeling
  9. Get Along
  10. Curtain Falls
  11. Next to Nothing

Product description

BBC Review

The annals of synth-pop are peppered with nearly men, almost hits and sideline attractions. For every Human League or Pet Shop Boys, there’s been numerous outfits plying a similar trade but without the alchemic knowhow to turn a grasp of technology into pop gold. Sadly, time won’t tell with Camden’s Ou Est Le Swimming Pool: the death of singer Charles Haddon in the summer would suggest that the band’s short existence – they only formed in 2009 – has already ended.

It’s right, though, that The Golden Year has seen the commercial light of day. While the coldest cynic can point to widespread coverage of Haddon’s death – was it or wasn’t it suicide? – and the recent Chazzstock event, which saw the likes of The Kooks and Mr Hudson remember the man’s brief life for charity, as reasons for its release, such a stance overlooks entirely what is not just a competent exercise in contemporary synth-pop arranging. The Golden Year is blessed with real heart and soul, the men in the middle of the machine audible through the typical, but well-employed, array of tinny beats and processed pieces.

Sure, it’s got its share of flaws – what debut doesn’t? – but The Golden Year is full of genuine promise that, unfortunately, will never be fully realised. Dance the Way I Feel, a single in 2009, is a great slice of post-Gaga electro-pop, a confident attitude only just masking rather more emotionally frayed undercurrents – expression on the dancefloor as escape, release from the trials of the real world. Answers is an atmospheric highlight which mixes effects-laden vocals with a real sense of yearning – it’s a love song for the 21st century that, in the hands of an already popular artist, would surely be a top ten single. Present it to a Ne-Yo or an Usher, and you’ve a global hit on your hands. The organic strings of Outside work surprisingly well in the context of the overall sound, sampled handclaps in the background popping like fireworks against a sky already densely populated with stars.

Some of the lyrics are pretty cringeworthy, and the trio’s compositional nous hardly light years ahead of their peers. But there’s more of noteworthy substance here than was heard on Fenech-Soler’s eponymous debut, for example. And they’d have got better, no doubt, and quickly too. As a posthumous eulogy to a man’s evolving and endearing pop ability, The Golden Year is perfection.

--Mike Diver

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on 9 November 2010
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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on 16 November 2010
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on 10 November 2010
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on 17 February 2013
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on 5 May 2011
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