Bars of Gold- Of Gold

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, April 10, 2011

A lot of people were sad when Bear vs. Shark decided to call it quits back in 2005, as the post hardcore/indie rock band had left an impression on the genre in its four years of existence. The members went off in different directions following the break up, but several of them ended up in a new act entitled Bars of Gold which released its debut last year on Friction Records. Entitled Of Gold, this release is hard to categorize but should appeal to those who like the rougher edge of post hardcore and the experimentation of modern noise and indie rock.

Bars of Gold takes a similar approach as Bear vs. Shark when it comes to the nature of the songs themselves, as there is always a lot going on throughout this album and there are plenty of tempo changes. Where this group differs is in their overall sound, as while there are some noisy parts a lot of emphasis has been placed on melody. The prominent keyboard arrangements are one of the indicators of this direction, but listeners may be surprised to discover other elements that pop up such as banjo arrangements and other Americana influenced sections. It’s an interesting approach, as Bars of Gold has taken the spastic complexity of genres such as noise and math rock and fused it together with the accessibility of indie rock and Americana. Of Gold has more than enough experimentation for the adventurous and the hooks for listeners that just want to sit back and listen without thinking too much about the nature of the compositions themselves, and that makes it stand out.

Marc Paffi has become known for his loud, in your face vocal style and he has continued to make use of it on Of Gold. His singing is always moving between intense and mellow arrangements, and it can sometimes be hard to predict exactly which direction he will go in from one minute to the next. The raw/rough nature of some of Paffi’s contributions works surprisingly well even when the instrumentals head in a softer direction and this makes for some memorable moments as the combination of the two is sure to stick out in your mind. It is clear that Marc Paffi is just as energetic as ever and the way in which he channels that energy for Bars of Gold works in the band’s favor.

Bear vs. Shark may be gone but Bars of Gold appears to be a suitable replacement as the group is continuing some of the spastic post hardcore/indie rock that their former band was known for while heading in entirely new and exciting directions. There’s a lot to take in while listening to Of Gold, and chances are that once you’ve spun this record the first time you’ll want to return to it immediately to see what aspects you might have missed. As you can probably tell I’m quite in love with this album, and considering that this is only the first album Bars of Gold have put out so far it looks like there will be a lot to look forward to.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Beartrap PR

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