Review Summary: Really, All in the Golden Afternoon is more or less just a great album to sit back and chill out to. Well…for twelve minutes, anyways.
It's been a busy year for Rachel Staggs. Back in February, she released Third Transmission: Meet Me on Echo Echo Terrace
with Experimental Aircraft, and the group is reportedly back in the studio recording a new EP. As a member of The Static Silence, she released Found
in May. She has a solo project under the name of Rachel Goldstar, which she claims will have some sort of release by the end of the year, as is psychedelic rock band, The Tunnels, whom she plays bass guitar for. And, finally Staggs also has All in the Golden Afternoon. A collaboration with husband Carlos Jackson (also a member of The Tunnels), the duo released a self-titled EP in February and has a full-length LP planned for later in the year.
Given that each of these projects all follow the same droning, spacey sound, Rachel's works are all the more impressive. Though the quality level differs between each project, they all have their own merits, and Staggs shows no signs of fatigue or redundancy. All in the Golden Afternoon
, yes a reference to the Lewis Caroll poem of the same name, perhaps best exemplifies the range of Staggs' works blurring the lines between the shoegaze of Experimental Aircraft and The Static Silence with the psychedelic rock of The Tunnels.
A mere twelve minutes in length, All in the Golden Afternoon
is a very breezy, delicate record. Opener "Garden of Live Flowers" and closer "The Lion and the Unicorn" are testament enough to this. Neither track exceeds a minute in length, and seems more interludes than structured songs. Regardless, both pieces are decidedly content, and establish the EP's (mostly) warm atmosphere rather well. The downcast title track darkens the mood slightly, with ominous guitar jangles and spacey reverb making up the centrepiece of the song. Staggs' breathy, almost nonchalant vocal style contrasts nicely with the instrumentation, producing All in the Golden Afternoon
's most foreboding, yet strangely appealing moment. But from "Anymore Anywhere" on, All in the Golden Afternoon
brightens tremendously. A light buzz resonates through the track in conjunction with loud guitars and subtle organ-work. Again, the intimacy of Staggs' vocal work is the most endearing aspect of the song, but the way Staggs and Jackson play off each other's performance is especially impressive. "Sunshine is Fine" takes the duo off on a different tangent; the song is a delightful journey through guitar/organ-centric dream-pop. Even without the Staggs' stellar vocal work, the song retains the serene qualities that make All in the Golden Afternoon
such a treat to listen to.
Though All in the Golden Afternoon
has its similarities to some of the duo's other projects, that isn't to say that it's a carbon copy. The EP isn't nearly as dense as that of Experimental Aircraft, The Tunnels, or even The Black Angels (whom Staggs played with in 2004), but at the same time, it doesn't quite have the same pop sensibilities as Rachel Goldstar. More or less, it's a simple, relaxing little composition that flows seamlessly from start to finish. In a way, you could consider it a bit of a summer record I suppose (ignoring the fact that it was released in February), but really, All in the Golden Afternoon
is a more or less just a great album to sit back and chill out to. Well…for twelve minutes, anyways.