June 15, 2011

John Gold :: A Flower In Your Head

"I spent about eight years living in this apartment on Wilton Place in Hollywood...it had everything I needed: a nice tube amp with a few shelves of LP’s, plenty of musical instruments, and a couple good microphones... My mom gave me our upright piano that now doubled as a desk to write on. When I was a little kid, Harry Nilsson made up a song for me on that same piano. I had a feeling that someday I’d sing songs, too. " — John Gold

Harry Nilsson? Yes, Los Angeles native John Gold clearly grew up surrounded by music. Thankfully, that pours over into his own songwriting. Within the first minute or so of Gold's third full-length, A Flower In Your Head, you get the sense this guy not only knows exactly what he's doing, but he's probably playing half the instruments and fussing over every knob in the studio. The songs here are all densely-packed with layer after layer of rich sonic treats: from bubbling bassy synths to emotive polyphonic strings, giant drums, and playfully sung and whispered chorusing background vocals. Combining elements of power-pop, country, and rock with psychedelic and classical music, Gold's palette is as diverse as it gets. But the record's grand production and varied instrumentation only serve to supplement the songs, not supplant them. Gold knows it's all about the song: the lyrics, the melody, the killer hooks, not just the glitter and glam. And in the end, that's what makes tracks like the piano-thumping "Skyscrapers," giant bass-driven "Honeymade," and the album star, "Baby It's Your Life"—co-written and previously released by Benji Hughes—so irresistible. "You got to have fun with your life," suggests a chorus of voices on "Baby It's Your Life." And on A Flower In Your Head, it's clear Gold has taken his own advice.

John Gold - "Baby It's Your Life" (from A Flower In Your Head)
John Gold - "Skyscrapers" (from A Flower In Your Head)

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