Beachwood Sparks: The Tarnished Gold

Beachwood Sparks
The Tarnished Gold
(Sub Pop)

Most people, or at least if they are already familiar with Beachwood Sparks, are keenly aware of the band’s obsession with the glory days of Southern California countrified vocals and harmonies. But on The Tarnished Gold they seemed to have dug a little deeper, going back to the buried folk roots that were obviously in the DNA of the folk-rock period and its participants.

The big drawback for your reviewer has been two things: a lack of a truly compelling and distinctive voice and a lack of urgency to the material. And on this, their new long-player, as much as I was hoping for otherwise, the band is capable, competent and has all the right ingredients for a SoCal jam, but no fire in the belly. It seems like the only credible raison d’etre for this band’s existence is to simulate mellow’s past glories.

The Tarnished Gold is a fine enough record, and it even has some interesting back alleyways in its aural grooves, but does it warrant your valuable listening time? Not for this listener.