The yin and the yang, the shadow and the light; that is how Born Gold’s latest album, Little Sleepwalker compares to its predecessor Bodysongs. Little Sleepwalker being the dark and Bodysongs being the bright.
A bit of a backstory: Only a short couple of years ago, Born Gold (of Edmonton, Canada) were jogging along under the name Gobble Gobble and included Megan James and Corin Roddick (who branched off to form Purity Ring) in the lineup. They were putting on maniacal dance shows, incorporating hockey helmets, snow shovels and leaf blowers. In 2011, however, the band changed names and became Born Gold; shortly after the release of their new moniker came the album Bodysongs.
Like the great Oz behind the curtain, Born Gold mastermind Cecil Frena has churned out a sophomore follow-up to Bodysongs. Frena has expressed that he works best when isolated—so much so, in fact, that he had a brief stint living in a retirement neighborhood in a deserted community in Arizona to work on and percolate what would become Little Sleepwalker.
In many ways, the latest album is a darker, more obscure collection than past Frena works. Strongly influenced by and (equally) a fan of pop music, Frena has found a way to intertwine his love of pop music through all of his work. Whereas Bodysongs is substantially more upbeat and danceable, Little Sleepwalker maintains a electro-pop sound, though amassed with ambiguity and enigma. With the help of synthesizers and various vocal calisthenics, Frena is able to make his voice much higher on a handful of songs, essentially singing like a woman. If amorphic is what Frena was going for, it was certainly achieved.
Although Little Sleepwalker leads with the single multi-layered, alien-sounding “Skybicycle,” the most worthwhile hooks of the album can be found on “That Way,” which is full of loops and heavy beats. “I: Ferocious Body” and “Lethe” are two of only a handful of distinguishable tracks; most of the songs will make listeners zone out entirely.
Little Sleepwalker is an interesting collection of darkness, mystery and dream state. But mostly it feels too much like an experiment with manipulating vocals and playing around with a synthesizer.
Born Gold — Little Sleepwalker tracklist:
- “Pulse Thief”
- “That Way”
- “I: Ferocious Body”
- “II: Against Silence”
- “Black Sonar”
- “Dawn Tunnel”
- “Fires of Disappearing”
- “Gauze Pillars”