Every once in a while, there’s an album that comes along and makes you feel so comfortable and so relaxed that it slowly changes your perspective on a lot of things. Golden Vessel’s second album ‘colt’ is one of those albums.
Written prior to his North American tour in mid-2019, Golden Vessel describes ‘colt’ as a “road trip album”. Out of the 11 beautiful songs on the record, there are a couple that stand out as road trip songs because you can feel the movement behind them, but the album as a whole feels more like freedom. That feeling you get when you know you have no responsibilities, no schedules to keep and you can just be in the moment.
The foundation of every song on ‘colt’ is built around a bass guitar, which is very prevalent on ‘diesel’. The third song on the album has the bass driving the melody as gentle atmospherics hover beneath it. ‘diesel’ is a very vibrant track, despite being named after something that’s typically associated with grittiness. The atmospherics have a warming tone to them and the melody itself is very pretty and light. Warped piano tones prance over the bass and everything feels so lush.
Golden Vessel’s sound is generally very relaxed and smooth. There’s generally an organic flow that seems to ooze out of his production and every song on ‘colt’ has that signature element. ‘besides you’ definitely has this element, but it’s a lot softer. Twinkling guitars compliment Golden Vessel’s deep vocals and light tones pitter patter over the melody like soft rain. The song is cooling and calming, unlike ‘midwest’ which is warm and a bit more upbeat.
You may have already heard ‘midwest’ and may know just how infectious the song is, but for those who haven’t heard it yet – prepare yourself. This is a song that you’ll be singing for days! This is one of the songs on ‘colt’ that really captures the road trip image. The bass line and the beat road so smoothly alongside each other and the guitars simply dance above them. The melody is pushed forward by these stronger elements as sliding accents really emphasise the movement Golden Vessel is trying to convey.
‘colorado’ has a lot of movement to it as well. It’s the most fast-paced track on the record and has a hard beat and heavy drums leading the way. Semi-warped synths and samples add a lot of texture to the melody on this track and there’s a sharpness to it that you don’t usually hear on Golden Vessel’s song. Then, just as quickly as ‘colorado’ started, it’s over. It’s like you’ve punched the accelerator and now, you’ve reached the speed you need and now you can relax into ‘stateside’. ‘stateside’ is delicious, for lack of a better word. Twangy synths squeeze between a steady beat and delicate high-hats seem to bring the whole melody together. Speaking of the melody, it kind of floats here. It hovers alongside the vocals and has an airiness to it that really juxtaposes the harshness of ‘colorado’.
‘blinker’ is a very unique track on ‘colt’ because it has two very punchy sides to it. The first side has buzzing samples that blink over atmospherics that feel awake, but also asleep. Gentle beeps twinkle over the soft production and beneath Golden Vessel’s vocals before everything eases and we’re suddenly in the second half, which is a dreamy soundscape. Drums come into the mix and wake everything up a bit with hollow synths humming above the atmospherics and the vocals echoing beneath it. There’s a lot of texture here and ‘blinker’ feels almost like electronic heaven with its ethereal elements.
Now if you’re a big follower of Golden Vessel, then you’ll know that he’s a big collaborator. On ‘colt’ some of Golden Vessel’s closest friends have lent their vocals to a series of amazing songs that you instantly fall in love with.
Mallrat lends her vocals to ‘littlebitwild’ and ‘forever’, two very sweet tracks that are upbeat, a little goofy and so much fun. ‘littlebitwild’ opens with twinkling tones before the beat slides in above the tones with some twisting synths. Both Mallrat and Golden Vessel’s vocals echo throughout the track enhancing the melody and bringing everything into a very homey state. This is a song you play when you’re surrounded by the people you love because it just emulates that love. Then we have ‘forever’, which has delicate guitars, twinkling tines and a slow tempo that makes the beginning of the track ballad-esque. The song is soft and dreamy, complimenting those soft vocals. Then, when the crunchy guitars come in, a bit of grittiness is added to the track and things get a bit more funky. It’s a great track because it’s some and textured at the same time.
The Nicholas and Rei So La both lend their vocals to ‘that’s us’, a really organic song that’s just a great time. The song actually feels like a chill hang with your friends which I’m sure, is kind of what the process is like when you’re writing music with people you really enjoy being around. The drums dance beneath the vocals and gentle guitars that draw you in from the first strum. There are a lot of acoustic elements on this track and they’re balanced out with subtle atmospherics that just swim around every piece of the track. This is what drinks with your buddies sounds like!
You may have spotted Akurei at Golden Vessel’s live shows as he’s a constant collaborator. On ‘colt’, Akurei lends his talents to ‘a good night’, a song that uses jangling guitars and blinking synths to create a very laid-back track, as well as ‘stateside’. The vocals from both Akurei and Golden Vessel smoothly glide through the edgier bass and beat, but it’s the harmonies that really shine here. They dance above the sleek production and feel almost ethereal as they have so much power but aren’t in your face. It’s beautiful really.
‘there’ features the vocals of Emerson Leif, another frequent collaborator of Golden Vessel’s who featured prominently on ’SLOWSHINE’, his first album. ‘there’ is the most delicate song on ‘colt’ and has the vocals washing over padded tones and jagged synths. The song is like a soft interlude in the middle of the album because it turns everything down and really centres you before you push forward with the other tracks. It’s grounding in a way, like a short meditation.
There are so many words to describe how amazing ‘colt’ is as an album and it would take hours to put them on this page. The beauty of Golden Vessel’s music is that it’s soft, upbeat and smooth all at the same time. ‘colt’ may only be his second album, but it’s a collection of delicately crafted songs that holds you close and tells you that it’s okay to do what you want. It’s okay for you to feel free and hang out with your friends and create something beautiful if you want to. Or you could just hop in a car and go somewhere – there’s no need to worry.
‘colt’ is a comforting album and it’s so wonderful that it’s now out in the world to give everyone the big reassuring hug they need.