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Gold Star hits the target with latest album Uppers & Downers

"Uppers & Downers"

Release date: 07 September 2018
Uppers and downers
07 September 2018, 17:20 Written by Bobby Rathore
Just as we think Gold Star’s emotional musical state is set in stone, a new wave of sentiment is uncovered in this gutsy, Americana-imbued album that takes us on a journey of the highs and lows of one LA based man’s life.

Gold Star, the moniker for LA-based artist Marlon Rabenreither, aimed for a wider scope of emotional dexterity in Uppers & Downers and achieved just that. The old-timey theme mapping out a picture of country roads and Americana grit remains, but Rabenreither’s latest work includes a hopeful edge that invites you to join in on the highs, the lows and everything in between; “the idea was to achieve a deeper scope, a more dynamic range: slow songs, fast songs, less genre specific, capturing all the moods,” says Rabenreither.

Big names are not needed in this album; but they are present with the likes of Cameron Avery of Tame Impala and Cole Alexander of Black Lips offering contributions ranging from loaded, vintage-sounding keys to bold harmonies. Nothing, however, takes away from Rabenreither’s potency over this album. From the opening track, “Crooked Teeth”, the splintered, experienced voice of Rabenreither is showcased. The music is brimming with nostalgia as Rabenreither throws it back to a classic era of music with a modern twist, much akin to the Ryan Adams’ Gold-period. Rabenreither’s mixture of different eras and emotions creates a familiarity with the album which is felt from the offset, drawing your attention and capturing your curiosity.

As the album progresses, the momentum builds and the curiosity develops as you are fully pulled into an album that is so complex in emotion, so varied in genre and so wide in scope that it will have you smiling, crying and worrying about what uninvited emotion will be lured out of you with the next track.

The autobiographical “Half the Time” is a sun-kissed, Americana fueled, personal track that paved the way for the rest of the album. Big keys, a changing tempo and those Rabenreither cracked vocals create a track that celebrates being unhappy only half the time. And then there is “Chinatown” and the title track “Uppers & Downers”, both of which are ethereal and contrasting to the tracks around them. “Chinatown” is an acoustic, looping track that boasts Gold Star's country-rock elements; whilst “Uppers & Downers” ironically brings the most life to the album through just Rabenreither’s vocals and a faint organ harkening the old, troubling days of Gold Star’s tumultuous journey.

Uppers & Downers acts as a collage, pinning up an eclectic mix of music and emotion, observational folklore and personal feeling. It invites you to join and commands you to listen all on the turn of Rabenreither’s alluring personality, his visceral narrative and his layered vocals.

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