Review Summary: Music from a bygone era
The vast majority of music nowadays has a very different sound than it did back in the 60s and 70s, and I don’t just mean the explosion of obscure genres and faux-ingenuity to attract listeners.
I’m talking about the production. The way the music is recorded and the overall vibe put out now is simply not the same. Growing up, I was weaned on records like The Rolling Stones’ “Let It Bleed,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Greetings From Asbury Park N.J.,” and The Beatles’ “Revolver.” The production value on these LPs isn’t lower than that of many contemporary bands, but it is rawer, and usually more emotionally poignant - a few notable exceptions from this generation include The Gaslight Anthem, the Black Keys, Wilco, and The National.
Andy Brewer, the lead singer of the Oklahoma based rock band, Taddy Porter, understands this, expressing in an interview with Paste Magazine how he feels “many albums now are over-thought [and] overproduced” and how a “quick turnaround” from recording to production was the key to making their music more organic. Whether it’s because Brewer is cognizant of this over-production epidemic, or the fact that the album was co-produced by Mark Neill (The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach) and David Cobb (Chris Cornell), Taddy Porter have crafted an album that sounds like it was recorded in the late 60s or early 70s. And that’s a good thing.
Unsurprisingly, “Stay Golden” plays like the love child of The Rolling Stones and The Black Keys, drawing elements from both bands without feeling like it’s ripping them off - mostly. The intro riff for “Walk Away” sounds like it was taken straight from “Dead and Gone” off “El Camino.” But tracks like “Walk Away,” are the exception, not the rule. Normally the influence is well recognizable, but not the point of forgery. Take closing track, “You Can Count On Me,” for example. The song is reminiscent The Rolling Stones uplifting hit, “Brown Sugar,” and evokes the same light-hearted feeling.
And while tributes to the band’s role models are littered throughout the album, most of Taddy Porter’s best moments come when let their own sound take over. “Emma Lee” is a catchy love song complete with crooning Oo’s and more pace changes than one would expect in its short two and a half minute span. In another vein entirely, “Evil” has an almost creepy backing riff accompanied by reserved vocals - only to be offset by an aggressive drum driven chorus. The best song on the album however, is the title track. “Stay Golden” is so catchy, so varied, so good, that oftentimes I’ve found myself starting the album from it, despite the fact it’s the second to last song.
The only bone I really have to pick with “Stay Golden” is that there isn’t enough - the 11-track record clocks in at a measly 31 minutes. This short length means the album is over way to soon, and while brevity is oftentimes a good thing, it makes one wonder what was left on the cutting room floor.
Ultimately though, the overall record is a success. Great production, multiple ideas incorporated into each and every song, and a sincerity that is so often left out of modern music makes Taddy Porter’s sophomore release well worth the time of anyone who likes good, old-fashioned rock music.
“You Can Count On Me”