Artist Spotlight

Review: Late Cambrian, “Golden Time”

No Comments 5 October 2014

Review: Late Cambrian, “Golden Time”

“Like any wonderfully balanced and executed record, it’s nearly impossible to play favorites with these tracks. There’s not a single throwaway, meaning that every chord, phrase and melodic moment is essential to the success of Golden Time. Late Cambrian just makes crazy amazing pop music.”

Artist: Late Cambrian

Album: Golden Time

Genre: Pop / Rock

RIYL:  Weezer, Phoenix, Wheatus, MGMT, Interpol

Late Cambrian Golden Time

Last year, I had some pretty great things to say about Late Cambrian, a Brooklyn quartet that knocked my socks off with their last record, Peach. So there were some pretty lofty expectations when I pressed “play” on their newest offering, Golden Time. What I found, in the simplest terms, is that this band has not only captured the magic created on their last outing…they have grown artistically and put together an impressively efficient 40-minutes of ridiculously pleasurable pop goodness.

Members John Wlaysewski (vocals, guitar), O (synth, vocals) and Nunzio Moudatsos (bass, vocals) and Alex Cohen (drums) hit on all cylinders with their brand of cheeky, powerful pop rock right out of the gate with “Throwing Shade.” This is a perfect and prime example of how to infuse personality and humor into lyrical work without being cheesy or over-rehearsed. Translating charm and personality into vocal performances is definitely a skill set all its own. Sure, it doesn’t hurt when you’re apparently uber-talented and seemingly great at everything like each and every member of this band appears to be; lead singer John W possesses otherworldly control, range and enunciation that most vocalists would kill for. Did I mention there is also killer background vocal work? These three just mesh in a way that always feels fresh. If that wasn’t enough, the talented Kevin Salem adds a guest guitar solo to the opening track.

The title track follows and starts to really dig into the goods that make Late Cambrian a pop force to be reckoned with. I’m struck dumb by the complexity of the perfectly placed hooks, phrasing and execution of every note on this track, and the entirety of Golden Time in general. The word that springs to mind is “precision,” which is a trait that’s required to make everything this complicated sound so easy on the ears. “Illamasqua” is another fine example of this. Another standout is the brilliant and shiny “Objects May Appear,” a rhythmic singalong that features the shared lead vocals of O, Late Cambrian’s spunky synth queen. This track has a lot going for it, most notably highlighting the strength of each player’s contributions front and center.

“Montauk” (featuring the delightful Angie Hart of Frente on guest vocals) is a breezy, charming tune that assaults you with sweetness and a sultry beach pop vibe. It also provides a nice light shift that leads extremely well into the exceptional album closer “Shiny Cars.” Both tracks show off the diversity and growth the band has successfully woven into this record that pushes them past their power-pop comfort zone. This type of stretch and flexibility brings even more depth to the strong musical identity this quartet has carved out for themselves. And again, those vocals.

Like any wonderfully balanced and executed record, it’s nearly impossible to play favorites with these tracks. There’s not a single throwaway, meaning that every chord, phrase and melodic moment is essential to the success of Golden Time. Late Cambrian just makes crazy amazing pop music. The versatility of their musicianship cannot be stressed enough; while there is a ridiculous amount of packed-in power pop here, the reverence for other styles and influences comes through loud and clear. Their last album was an unsurprising critical success; and since that time they have steadily gained more and more fans not only in their native NYC, but reaching out further across the globe. Golden Time is the album that can take them even further.


Late Cambrian website: http://www.latecambrian.com/

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