One Good Turn (EP)


Independent release, 2008

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


One of the best things about writing for the Vault -- besides, of course, the panel banter that livens up my spam-clogged inbox -- is getting to forge relationships with the artists. You start to get invested in their successes, feeling some twinge of pleasure when they make the jump from unsigned indie act to major-label megastars, even though you didn’t actually play any part beyond penning those early astonished reviews.

And that’s the case with me and Golden, the Atlanta, Georgia-based purveyors of sparkling blues-rooted pop tunes that really do sound like warm apple pie, as their MySpace claims. Their self-produced debut, 2006’s … you and everything…, lodged its way into that place in my heart (and my car stereo) with its charmingly catchy yet substantial songs, tricked out just enough with Joshua Golden’s irresistible voice and the warm, subtle instrumentation.

But while it’s not going to be that much of a wait for their next album, nbtc__dv_250 Night Reminds The Day, to drop, in the meantime, they’ve put together a live set, available for free download on their website. The One Good Turn EP finds the band sharing Center Stage in Atlanta with Robert Randolph & The Family Band, as well as hitting most of the highlights of … you and everything ….

The show begins with the lushly layered, hooky “Drive.” Touches of saxophone (played by Golden), nimble guitar runs by Adam Knight, and bassist Sky’s full sound all inject a new looseness into the sleek album cuts while still retaining their signature blend of jazzy pop.

Golden’s vocals are instantly captivating as ever; my last review compared him to Adam Levine and David Gray, but this time around, he really just sounds like himself (with a touch of Ben Folds): confident and sultry, moving through registers with ease and grace. Take “Maggie,” where his strong, declarative near-growl morphs seamlessly into a softer pleading on the chorus, which is elevated still by the expansive instrumentation.

In the live setting, jazzy, jittery “Mine” is given nearly ten minutes to percolate and unfold, though it still sounds tight and somehow effortless. Van Todd’s shimmering cymbals intersect with slow-burning guitar and saxophone grooves, while the melodies themselves are still as endearing as ever, all stick-in-your-head choruses and lovelorn sentiment. Meanwhile, “Come Over,” always my favorite track of theirs, is supple and sophisticated; midway through, the instruments fade away to just Golden’s proclaiming, “I’m counting every hour / The hands on my watch – well, they’re spinning around so slow / But you just take your time and I’ll just be here, love / I’ll just sit here waiting for you,” before it launches back into a swelling, full-band outro.

Closer “Revolution” keeps with the Golden aesthetic: classic bluesy jams updated with their own modern touches that lend the songs richness and accessibility. It’s this sort of likeable lavishness that keeps me in tune to the group’s next move, waiting with hopes that their latest disc is the big one that makes their (and our) dreams come true.

Rating: A-

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