The Golden Gods‘ The Thorny Crown of Rock and Roll is either the greatest album I’ve heard in ages, or the biggest joke ever played on me musically. Even after five listens, I can’t decide. The band sounds like the Hellacopters, but raised on a steady diet of Styx and Journey alongside the Motorhead and AC/DC.
The Golden Gods’ label, the Control Group, doesn’t help to clarify things any. The fact that the label is probably best known for putting out vinyl releases of acts on biggesr labels (the Killers, Kings of Leon, Vendetta Red) doesn’t really scream “quality product!”
HOWEVER… the Control Group did release Alien Crime Syndicate‘s XL From Coast to Coast, which is one of the best rock albums of the past five years, as the band completely ignores convention, putting a cock-rock number immediately before a poppy handclap number.
Where the fuck am I going with all of this? I wasn’t sure myself until I started typing out this review. But the idea is this: the Golden Gods are on the same label as another band that defied rock rules, and being as how that band completely fucking rules, and the Golden Gods also follow said defiance of said rules, it appears that the Golden Gods would also rule.
WHich they do. Seriously… I think they’re serious, at least. Listening to the David Coverdale wail and copious amounts of cowbell means the Golden Gods are either painfully unaware it’s no longer 1982 on the Sunset Strip, or they’re painfully aware of the fact, and want to rock on in that vein.
That’s the problem with The Thorny Crown of Rock and Roll– it’s so earnest that it could be serious or total mockery. But it’s so techincally profiencient, you can’t tell! The band isn’t made up of bad musicians- the disc could stand to have a bit of gritty reality, but the guys in the band know how to play guitar and sing. The rhythm section gets a little white-boy funk goin’ on that smooths stuff out, Grand Funk style, as well. The wail? Oh, yeah- it’s something the likes of which you haven’t heard since the Black Crowes, but without the hippie annoyances.
It’s driving me fucking insane to try and puzzle this whole thing out… so let’s just leave it that the disc is well done, amazingly catchy, and depending on your retro-rock preferences, either amazing or awful.
UC Radio has a wonderful podcast featuring highlights from the album.