William Fitzsimmons
Gold In The Shadow


2.0
poor

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
March 18th, 2011 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And just when things are looking up, Fitzsimmons drops a dud.

Many of us fully expected to group William Fitzsimmons’ latest with the best that 2011 has yet to offer in the singer-songwriter field, namely with Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo and of course PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, yet Gold In The Shadow is not the collection of melodramatic and emotive tunes we had hoped it would be. Instead, broken Fitz-y has gone the way of that other famous, whispering beard, Iron & Wine’s Sam Bean, offering us what is essentially his weakest album thus far.

The audio portrayal of heartbreak and loss has always been Fitzsimmons’ shtick in the past – damn the guy was just so good at making us cry on 2006 home-recorded classics Goodnight and especially Until When We Are Ghosts. So when the mental therapist announced early this year that Gold was “a real and long coming confrontation with personal demons, past mistakes and the spectre of mental illness which has hovered over [himself] for the great majority of [his] life,” more than a few skeptic eyebrows were raised, including yours truly.

Fitz-y in a happy setting, or even in a hopeful one, did not sound so good on paper, and on Gold, it really isn’t. For one thing, the man still sounds sad, and if you knew nothing about the background of the album before having listened you would assume that songs “Psychasthenia” and “The Winter From Her Leaving” were just b-sides taken from his last studio effort, the b-grade The Sparrow and the Crow, the former draped in Edge-like guitar echo with Fitzsimmons crooning, “Cut me open, please”. Happy and hopeful, right? Indeed, my thoughts exactly.

It’s the similarities to Fitzsimmons’ past albums here, both in the melodies and even the female harmonizing roles that give Gold the most trouble in the end, though. Light electronic dabs as on “Fade and Then Return” and “Let You Break” are picked right from Fitzsimmons’ better tracks, Goodnight’s “Afterall” and especially “Please Don’t Go”, and the tracks that have some promise, such as the sweeping strings of “Bird of Winter Prey”, are underplayed and too few. “Beautiful Girl” even sounds incomplete, cutting off suddenly during its typical instrumentation of Fitzsimmon’s picking his acoustic guitar, and “Tied To Me” may very well be the worst vocal melody that Fitzsimmons has ever come up with, clashing awkwardly with his instrumentation, the song boring all the way through with its lumbering pace.

Keep sad and go back home seems to be the doctor’s orders for Fitzsimmons and his songwriting career at this point. In truth, the studio has done little for the production values of his albums anyway – his first home-recorded album, 2006’s Until When We Are Ghosts, sounds even better than both Gold and 2009’s Sparrow. And it’s almost like it’s done even worse for the songwriter’s inspiration. Fitz-y for so long thrived off his own emotional pain, using heartbreaking melodies and memorable, if simple, guitar progressions and instrumentals as his outlet, giving us his best music in the past. But now, he’s hopeful, and it’s evident on Gold that he just can’t channel the same degree of inspiration into his music effectively. It all sounds recycled, underdeveloped, and as odd as it may be, but telling, too, the music almost sounds like it were just wishing to be sad again.



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user ratings (50)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
March 18th 2011


20937 Comments


Nice review Jared... very clear, and I'll definitely trust you on this one, as disappointing as this is.

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Maniac!
March 18th 2011


26257 Comments


This beard has a nice voice.

BigHans
March 18th 2011


26454 Comments


Damn thats a shame, Until When We Are Ghosts is great.

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


4461 Comments


I've never really liked any of his stuff all that much tbh


Knott-
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


10198 Comments


i hope you find find it hope you i hop you me in find hope it find me i me you hope find you me find it hope i you hope me find it in meeeeeeeeeee

Maniac!
March 18th 2011


26257 Comments


UWAG ran too long and go repetitive. It has some great tracks though

Spare
March 18th 2011


5440 Comments


oh god look at the cover why did this happen

Digging: Forth Wanderers - Tough Love

Knott-
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


10198 Comments


i know its his beard but i just think

why is his face half missing

letsgofishing
March 18th 2011


908 Comments


What in the hell... I love Iron and Wines new album. Except for that wonderful review , been meaning to check out
Until When We are Ghost's for quite a while now.

wyankeif1337
March 18th 2011


6739 Comments


NOOOOOOOO

myhigherpie
March 18th 2011


3027 Comments


:/ Just got into him too.

Hep Kat
March 18th 2011


15362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

totally agreed. i was afraid i was gonna be the only one who thought this sucked. then i'd be like ooohh maaaaaaan

Digging: Burning Kitchen - Many Wonder About the Meaning of Life

Kris.
March 18th 2011


12509 Comments


wow a 2.8...
i am depress

cvlts
March 18th 2011


8983 Comments


You and Davey jus slayin' all the other staff members in terms of output.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


5819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks guys. Nah, I just have a lot of dibs for this part of the month. Not many of us cover what davey does so he has free reignn

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2011


7026 Comments


wtf is that album cover

vanderb0b
March 18th 2011


3473 Comments


Enjoyed most of his past stuff, sad to hear that this isn't as good.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2011


7423 Comments


Great review man, any chance of you doing one for the Kurt Vile album?

Knott-
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


10198 Comments


i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me
i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me
i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me
i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me
i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me
i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me
i hope you find it in me
i could not find it in me

Ponton
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


5819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Im enjoying smoke ring a lot, so maybe ali if it isnt eventually covered. Albums good knott =(



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