The Golden Republic (Astralwerks)

The Golden Republic 

The Golden Republic (Astralwerks)

Relentlessly engaging and dazzlingly complex, the Golden Republic's debut full-length is the rare pop record that allows listeners to become actively aware of the compositions' intricate underlying craftsmanship. "The Turning of the World," for example, follows a two-minute progression that begins with a slow-winding riff settling into a garage-rock groove before erupting into a quick climax with no afterglow. The Golden Republic occasionally overwhelms singer Ben Grimes with supersonic jangles that recede only for essential lyrics. Grimes' android cadence contextualizes the electro-enhanced "Robots," and his icy Where did our love go? during "She's So Cold" communicates emotional exhaustion. The album's clearest, catchiest, cleverest refrain belongs to "Not My Kind," with its barbed hook I wrote you a song/Not 'cause I love you/I wrote it 'cause I hate you/I hate you, I hate you. The album saves space for simple structures -- "I'll Do Anything" contains a chorus melody that's merely an amplified echo of its verses -- but most of its stomp-paced sing-alongs revel in geometric guitar lines and layered backing vocals.

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