Kicking off on an eerie note with ‘Dance Around the Fire,’ The Golden Filter’s debut album does just that. Völuspà” dances around a fire of chilling synths, ethereal vocals, sparse drum machine beats, and all the ambiance you’d could ever want to swim through. It’s been a long time coming, too. The duo has been touring off and on for a year seemingly on the strength of two singles (‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Thunderbird’ respectively) and rumors of an album in the distance. Now that the album is finally realized, does it live up to the hype from their time on the road?
Yes. This album in fact exceeds any expectations readers may have drawn from the blog blasts boasting about how The Golden Filter are the ‘next big thing’. The record will inevitably draw comparisons to Goldfrapp’s earlier days. Sure, it’s comparable to “Black Cherry” due to the scathing electronics paired with sultry vocals – but the difference lies in The Golden Filter’s ‘less is more’ approach. Where Goldfrapp tends to fill every possible space with sound, this duo relies on minimalism to conjure up a stark atmosphere. Ultimately, “Völuspà” winds up being closer to acts on the Italians Do It Better label (i.e. Glass Candy or Chromatics) than anything else. What separates The Golden Filter from the rest of the pack, though, is their knack for squelched arpeggiating synths and a unique approach to reverb. This is Electronic music for Shoegaze/Dream-Pop fans, in other words.
If you’re a fan who’s been looking for the full length follow-up to the ‘Solid Gold’ single that inhabited the interweb last year, here’s your holy grail. If you’re expecting an album full of ‘Solid Gold’, prepare to be disappointed. All the Electro tendencies of that single are present, just not in the same indie floor-filling manner. This record is easily a contender for one of the best of the year – reveling in emotional abundance and wallowing in coarse electronics that even Olof Dreijer of The Knife would be jealous of, “Völuspà” was well worth the wait. In a review I did of their opening set for The Presets last year, I stated that the next time The Golden Filter comes through, they’d be headlining. With an album as strong as this, I still stand by that 100%.