Album Review: My Gold Mask’s Leave Me Midnight

My Gold Mask

Leave Me Midnight

Release Date: February 19, 2013

 

Track Listing

1.     Never Go Home

2.     Some Secrets

3.     I, Animal

4.     In Our Babylon

5.     Burn Like The Sun

6.     Without

7.     Lost In My Head

8.     Further It Gets

9.     Nightfalls

10.  Song of Wound

 

Personnel

Greta Rochelle – drums, percussions and vocals

Jack Armando – guitar

 

The Chicago-based duo of Greta Rochelle and Jack Armando formed My Gold Mask around their mutual love of Italian Giallo cinema, a genre of cinema closely related to American pulp crime and mystery movies, and the dimly-lit warehouse district of their hometown where their rehearsal space is located. Their 2009 self-titled, full-length debut was fairly well received – it drew some comparisons to Siouxsie and the Banshees and “futuristic gypsy shit,” as one website described it. But in 2010, the band released two EPs – A Thousand Voices and A Million Miles (From Where We Were Last) which revealed a remarkable bit of growth in the band’s sound, and that growth influenced the material that wound up on the band’s sophomore effort, Leave Me Midnight.

   Assisted by engineer and long-term collaborator Balthazar del Ley, the sound the band created on their sophomore effort is heavily influenced by Phil Spector’s famous “tower of sound” production of the 60s – layers upon layers of instrumentation but with cascading, swirling reverb that creates the impression of a band playing behind a stack of amplifiers that would make Led Zeppelin envious, in an abandoned (and possibly dilapidated) church, a gigantic warehouse or in the middle of Grand Central Terminal. And although the band has drawn some fair comparisons to Siouxsie and the Banshees, the band’s sound which emphasizes moody atmospherics and tribal percussiveness reminds me a little bit of Caveman’s Coco Beware – but more muscular, larger, hazier, more anthemic, and just as gorgeous. Sure, tracks like “Nightfalls,” “In Our Babylon” and even “Song of Wound” sound as though sound as though they could have easily come off the Siouxise and the Banshees catalog – “Israel,” and “Wheel of Fire,” come to my mind. But tracks like “I, Animal” “Burn Like the Sun” and “Lost In My Head” and “Further It Gets” are distinctive because they suggest a trippy and expansive psychedelica.

    Throughout the album Armando’s guitars chime like gigantic church bells near a canyon, while Rochelle’s drums, cymbals and tambourines sound like concussive explosions. And Rochelle’s voice manages at times to possess a larger than life quality – while at times being vulnerable and deeply wounded. She manages to make her presence known with yelps, howls and a voice that buries itself into your brain. I’ve caught the band live one night, as they opened for Midnight Spin and the Hood Internet, if I’m not mistaken, and although I had immediately thought of Caveman, their recorded sound is something that they had trouble replicating live, and I suspect that most of the crowd – including yours truly – shamefully missed the point… Granted, there isn’t anything particularly revolutionary here but it captures a dark, stormy, brooding mood perfectly.