By Rick Shithouse
Debut records really excite me in special ways. They usually come from nowhere, unannounced, no fanfare, no hype, just a post or two on Facebook or an email and a 'give this a listen if you've got the time' kind of attitude. In many ways debut albums are the ones you remember the most, that moment of discovery, the unearthing of something new and the first step on a musical journey with a new musical soulmate.
USA Gold came out of nowhere and I discovered him via Zach D/A/D Robinson's post on Facebook, suggesting people give the record a listen as the two producers are, I believe, good friends. With that first step of the journey taken I instantly feel deep in rapturous love with the music Charlie Olvera as USA Gold has created.
After the ambient introductory piece the USA Gold experience really begins and the cleanliness and authentic nature of the sounds puts you immediately in an 80s state of mind. From there we're delighted with beautifully crafted 80s melodies and emotionally charged passages of nostalgic fantasy, intrigue and intimacy. '318 Hyperdrive' soars with a glowing melodic exploration of synths and guitars that are as explosive as they are inspirational however the real USA Gold magic fully hits its stride in the third track 'Caan Maan'.
Olvera masterfully hypnotises the listener with arppegiated structures that are wholly consuming. The subtleties of this track are utterly wondrous, simplistic and uncomplicated yet with an emotional depth you are unable to escape. Although there is much variation in the sounds on the record I find these slow moving, haunting melodies weave their magic throughout many of the tracks, adding an air of mystery to otherwise open pieces.
USA Gold is also an apparent devotee of classic 80s Library music sounds too and on 'Shopotheosis' he really unleashes the 80s brilliance in a piece that dances, gleams, pauses for drama and then blows you a a kiss in the ultimate mall montage. Olvera's synth skills are definitely more than adequately displayed through each track but one can't deny the impact his guitar work adds to most of the pieces on the album. You really feel that musical synergy between keys and strings in the most rockin ways.
The stories of the tracks, with their seemingly unrelated titles inspire much thought provocation as to their direction. The narrative of 'Cindy's Nightmare' is definitely dark in its aspect but then changes into incredibly rich passages of excitement as visions are conjured and explored with great dexterity. Olvara switches gears and emotions like nobodies business while the electro beat and spooky ambience pulses away in the background.
'Launch On Warning' takes the narrative depth to all new levels across nine minutes of building panic with space synth and Italo tinged details exploring all manner of interstellar possibilities. The final act of this one is definitely a climactic pay off you'll be fully entranced by. This is followed by the palette cleansing ambience of 'Serrial', once again taking you on an inward, contemplative journey.
The final track, 'Ally And Molly And Paddy And Paulie' is one the albums brightest highlights for me as the Synth Romance washes in in a slow motion, unstoppable tide of heartfelt feelings. Synths embrace and spark with each caress and passions rise to an unbearable, uncontrollable climax. USA Gold keeps the pace so laid back and casual that you think you're keeping your cool, but deep inside you're about to explode with desire and all control is teetering on the precipice of letting go once and for all. Take the plunge into the sweetest of romantic moods and become drenched in the golden synth waves.
Across this album I was vastly entertained by its different facets and Olvara's adeptness and understanding of rockin the 80s vibe all kinds of wonderful ways. As I mentioned earlier, debut albums like this can become just that little bit more special and the discovery of 80s inspired synth music of this calibre is always rockin to the max. You can pick up a copy of USA Gold's The Album on his Bandcamp page in the usual array of downloadable formats here at a 'name your own price' point and I highly recommend digging deep and supporting Olvara's forays into the world of 80s sounds to make sure he knows just why 80s love is the best love. A fantastic debut album that comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.