Happily ever after seems a phrase well suited, if not slightly ironic, when used alongside psychedelic goth rock outfit Golden Age of Nothing.
The (then) trio’s well-respected 2014 debut EP ‘The Green Room’ introduced the band strongly, gaining considerable critical press and fan approval. Initial acclaim focused on the morbid, intense and personal lyrics of frontman Graeme Wilkinson which were deemed as, amongst other things, similar to the sentiment and depth of Nick Cave in their search for meaning in a world where it is not always obvious. Over time, attention shifted onto Wilkinson’s voice which was referenced as soulful, pained and Bowie-esque. Best summarised with a Charless Lee quote, Wilkinson’s manifesto appeared to read ‘I preach darkness. I don’t inspire hope. It’s up to you to find the light in my words’.
Spanning a further two EP’s and one long player (2015’s ‘Ghosts destroy us’), the band continued their journey to the heart of darkness by constructing an impressive body of work, the sum of which has helped to shape the Golden Age’s identity as an intense, thought-provoking, meaningful, creative team. More recent musical releases have seen a shift in press attention and a focus onto the (guitar-led) musical soundscapes produced by the band, which have been said to be moody, claustrophobic and sentimental. Comparisons to Interpol and the Cure have been common. Whilst personal happiness seemed to be a long way off for the band, acclaim seemed to follow them everywhere they went.
Now, the newly supplemented outfit (4 piece) are set to push their musical vision into an even sharper focus through the release their new album ‘Monuments’ which will be released on April 21st. Promising to be a concept album of sorts, Wilkinson has described Monuments as being about the theme of loss and what is left behind once something has gone; essentially an examination of the material world and the confrontation of personal fears. In today’s Instagram sponsored take of the perfect world, this record might just prove to be the grittier antidote.
Pre-released tracks ‘Sleepwalkers’ and ‘When we die there is nothing’ both demonstrate the depth of thought, and sound, of the new material.
Though keen not to provide too much insight into each track, instead allowing the listener to find their own meaning, Wilkinson has shared stories behind some of Monuments tracks. These stories provide an interesting insight into the broad interpretation of what ‘loss’ can be, and what it can mean, and challenge the listener to investigate issues from different perspectives. ‘Idiot Lament’ focuses on Brexit, ‘David Saw the Angels’ is theme’d around the death of David Bowie and ‘When We Die, There’s Nothing’ focuses on Alzheimer’s.
The singular focus for the album, both in theme and in sound, and the pursuit of appropriate songs seem to have pushed further than before. Wilkinson admits that numerous tracks were shelved during the recording process as they searched for perfection. However, and finally moving to a conclusion of the ‘happily ever after’ intro, this collective vision has produced a clearer direction for the band, one which aspires to be a little less poppy, a little darker and a little more meaningful. Speaking to NE Volume, Wilkinson advised us that his vision for the band was “to try and pull the listener in a bit more”.
To support the new album, the band have promised a couple of video releases before it’s release. The video for ‘Sleepwalkers’ is almost complete and will appear soon, and one more, most probably for ‘Lost in Space Again’ will come follow afterwards.
A few live shows will also support the album’s release with Wilkinson pledging that the band will play some of the newer tracks and, in the spirit of their new focus, drop some of the more poppyer material. New guitarist, Mike Elliott, will also make his Golden Age debut in a move that is sure to produce more noise, and depth, to the Age’s live sound.
With a new album, a new band mate and a new focus, now seems the perfect moment for the Golden Age to be happy about their darkness.