ALBUM REVIEW: Social Crutch by Gold Cage

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WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras

Gold Cage is a Los Angeles based band who just released their debut full length on Felte Records. They are a three-piece consisting of singer/bassist Mony Katz, singer/guitarist Cole Devine, and drummer Sage Ross. Together, they form to create an incredibly unique project. Names of some bands like Galaxie 500 and Explosions in the Sky have been likened to this group, where inspiration behind guitar work is attributed. It’s hard to put one label on this band because they draw so many different elements on this record to create a sound that is truly unique and stands out. Upon first listen, you may classify them as shoegaze. But a closer analysis would show they are much more than that. They incorporate elements of dreampop, indie rock, slowcore, and experimental elements that makes for an engaging debut for a band that many people should keep an eye on. 

Social Crutch features nine songs across a thirty-three-minute album. The mood throughout is somber, relaxing, and above all lush and pretty. The band takes advantage of the shoegaze/slow core landscape throughout this album, including reverb soaked vocal tones and harmonies, while having really massive guitar work. In some tracks, the guitars taker over and create this huge wall of noise that blankets over the track and creates an incredibly lush and ethereal experience. 

The opening track “Repeater Kember” begins with a shaker, until the drums begin followed by a building guitar riff. The guitar sustain continues over the duration of the next few moments working in conjunction with the other instruments. Once the vocals begin the whole track is realized. It isn’t until about halfway through the track that Devine lets his guitar go wild as it creates that distinct shoegaze drone over the track. “Halcion” is a slow and chill track after the chaos of the previous. It’s subdued by a lowly bass line that balances the track well amongst the other band members. The vocal harmonies on this track are what really shine. Katz and Devine have very different vocal ranges where Katz are more angelic, and Devine’s are on the lower end and rely on a much heavier reverb effect on his vocals. Both working in conjunction is a really pleasant thing to listen to. “Introduce My Mind” puts forth a more upbeat tempo of instrumentation which is a nice change of pace and also allows for the vocals to be put in more front and center position. “What is Left” is a slowcore song to its bones. The slow drum hits, the guitar that’s both reverb heavy, vocals which will leave the listener in a daze combine for such a deep experience.

“Shadows” with its reverse sounding guitar parts is very psychedelic to listen to and “Ripples” with its more melodic driving guitar are nice back to back tracks. Once again on “Ripples” the vocal performances of both singers one after the other adds a depth to this track. “ Spaghettify” utilizes similar psychedelic guitar effects while Sage Ross holds the track together with some really tight drumming. This song pushes more of a dream pop sound with its nice twinkly guitar riffs. “Harshmellow” with its spacey guitar work, and vocal harmonies is the type of track that will suck the listener in. “Creepfest” serves as the closing track. It begins with very lush and ambient style guitar strumming until the vocal harmonies work their way into the mix. Both vocalists almost complete each other’s sentences in a back and forth dance until the drums and bass enter the song. They begin to jam out in a poetic collaboration of reverb washed guitars that are both beautiful and emotional. The bass with its prominent pick pattern holds down a rhythm for the track as the drums serve as the backing force that holds the track together. 

This is as fine a debut album as any band this year has released. It has really deep instrumentation ideas, and its diversity of genres are enough to help it stand out amongst typical shoegaze bands and records. Some of the nicest work on this record are the vocals. The utilization of both Katz and Devine was a real nice touch because both have distinct sounds that are able to bounce off of each other. At times it’s really beautiful. This record is available on Felte records and people should check it out to see what a band utilizing all these different genres can sound like. 

For Fans of: Deserta, Draag, topographies

Track listing:

Side A:

  1. Repeater Kember
  2. Halcion
  3. Introduce My Mind
  4. What Is Left

Side B:

  1. Shadows
  2. Ripples
  3. Spaghettify
  4. Harsmellow
  5. Creepfest

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