Montreal duo October Gold, continue to tip-toe on the acoustic side of pop in their new self-titled EP. Having gently graced stages across North America and Europe in recent years, the pair are slowly becoming known for their modest arrangements and the natural chemistry they hold. Partners in marriage, and in music, songwriter Kit Soden and violinist Aliza Thibodeau have the ability to embrace the widely adored folk/pop combination while borrowing orchestral arrangements from the classical training of Thibodeau. The five track EP ties in influences heard in their 2010 album Into the Silence and their 2013 concept-album Bridge of the Sun. Together these influences create a product which grasps at the importance of poetry, folk roots and emotion.
The laid back opener, At the Mid Hour of Night, paints a charming scene in which listeners will be easily drawn. With sweet lyrics such as ‘while stars are weeping I fly’ and ‘when light shone warm in your eyes’, it is pleasing to know that it is to each other they sing. And if one can get over Soden’s fondness of beginning every vowel with an ‘h’, the track is lyrically contenting. The more powerful Violet Fire plays next and taps into Thibodeau’s classical past with chilling string arrangements. The tracks are unfortunately on the monotonous side and at first listening it is easy to mistake the EP for one 18 minute piece. However, upon further listening the details of each track begin to abscond through. It is from deep within their stories that distinctions can be drawn, Soft like Gold perhaps being the front-runner.
October Gold certainly indulge in the small scale, providing songs and arrangements that could be heard in rooms on both sides of the Atlantic. Arguably the tracks are under-arranged, however, this lends a ‘session’ quality to the EP, perhaps intentionally. The lack of complication is charming and it follows that little thought is required by the listener to absorb the record. Simplicity is key here and the playing of Soden and Thibodeau is effortless and they complement each other well. Although in danger of being lost in amongst others who surrender to the sweet tones of folk, October Gold should be commemorated for the honesty in their music and the fragile approach taken when blending styles. While the EP is certainly a model for ‘small things come in good packages’, it is only a snapshot of their capabilities.
Review by: Kim Carnie
Releases November 16, 2015
Pre-Order via Bandcamp