Album Review: The Tarnished Gold - Beachwood Sparks

By Graham Reid

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Album cover for The Tarnished Gold. Photo / Supplied
Album cover for The Tarnished Gold. Photo / Supplied

Given this is the first album in over a decade by the Californian jangle-pop/country-rock group - whose reference points are Buffalo Springfield and Laurel Canyon bands of the late 60s/early 70s - it's perhaps best to trace their lineage backwards.

Drummer Aaron Sperske recently spent time in Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (Mr Pink guests here), guitarist Dave Scher toured as Interpol's keyboard player and founding guitarist Chris Gunst helmed Mystic Chords of Memory. So BSparks was a springboard, but when they reformed for Sub Pop's 20th anniversary four years ago they clearly felt there was unfinished SoCal country-rock business, where close harmonies, steel guitars (by the Cardinals' Neal Casal) and the pastoralism of the latter-day Byrds, early acoustic Neil Young and the Flying Burrito Brothers still has a place.

Despite those obvious touchstones, these are lovely soft rock ballads which arrive here a little too soon for hazy summer days. But they bring that sunshine vibe in the delicate Leave That Light On and breeze-blown acoustic-driven seductions like Forget the Song, the CS&Nash-influenced Sparks Fly Again and Nature's Light.

Wistful, crafted and nostalgic, but also understated and charming. One to evoke warmer days to come.

Stars: 4.5/5
Verdict: Someone else's back pages from sunny California

- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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