Golden Youth - Quiet Frame, Wild Light
Record Label: Slospeak Records
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Well, here we are again. Another year, another California surprise. Golden Youth are a doe-eyed duo comprised of keyboardist/vocalist Stephanie Lauren and guitarist Kyle Monroe. The indie-pop pairing marries orchestral instrumentation (timpani, vibraphone, flute, celeste) with sweeping choruses (think Sigur Ros). Quiet Frame, Wild Light is their debut and while it is decidedly brief it makes one heck of a statement.
Opener "Life Through a Keyhole" is done before the two-minute mark but its celestial twinkling of bells and gauzy female vocals is enough to keep the listener wanting more. Its successor "We Are Alive" is whimsical, sweeping and wildly intoxicating. Spinning the listener into a vortex both effortlessly and vividly, "We Are Alive" is deeply enchanting and the first real breakout moment for this precocious duo. "Brother in the Morning Light" is a warm and intimate affair with handclaps, an acoustic guitar and more sweeping and hypnotizing potency.
For those that yearn for the doe-eyed prettiness of "Life Through a Keyhole," it is revisited in the honeyed tenderness of "You." Cinematic piano opens the driving and energetic "Seven Seas," arguably the album's most urgent effort and a valentine about relationship indefatigability. One of the disc's most complete efforts is easily "I Was a Lark." The album closes with the string-laden "On Wings," a decidedly orchestral effort that revisits much of the buoyant optimism of "Life Through a Keyhole" and "You."
Crafting a pop album can often be a difficult task. But the sheer simplicity and beauty of Quiet Frame, Wild Light should be enough to vault Golden Youth out of Northern California and on to the national landscape.