ARTS

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February 2, 2007

Shortcuts—Warm in the Wake's Gold Dust Trail

Everyone knows the feeling of passively listening to an album and being floored when a certain melody hits that suddenly commands your attention. Be it a lyric that reverberates with your own feelings or a certain guitar riff fired off with such perfection that you feel the hair on your neck stand up, every artist strives for these moments of raw emotion. The greatest albums evoke these emotions in every song, but most artists consider themselves lucky to garner such a response from their audience even once. While Warm in the Wake’s debut EP The Gold Dust Trail isn’t an album that kept my jaw hugging the floor, it is nevertheless a consistent recording with well crafted songs and a few precious moments where I was floored.

Falling somewhere between Sun Kil Moon, The Shins, and Ambulance LTD, Warm in the Wake’s sound is difficult to pin down, but it never really feels unique. This is not to say that this Atlanta-based quartet is simply a clone of every other indie-rock band out there—The Gold Dust Trail marches on with a distinctly southern rock sound full of organs, mandolins, and a piano that aptly combines with Chris Rowell’s laconic vocals to give the increasingly hackneyed genre of indie-pop a fresh feel.

Thankfully, The Gold Dust Trail’s song pacing is well orchestrated and mixes moderate-tempo jaunty tracks such as “Golden Inhibition Destroyer” and “Good King” with the more ethereal “What You Seek.” The final track, “Skeleton Friend” brilliantly fuses reversed-tracked guitars with slow-paced, choppy chord attacks and vocals to paint a song as haunting as it is beautiful. Warm in the Wake saved their strongest song for last, and when I finished The Gold Dust Trail, I felt satisfied that I had listened to a record whose occasional mind-blowing melodic insights were effectively couched in a neat and overall consistent record.