Beachwood Sparks “The Tarnished Gold”

Tarnished Gold

Beachwood Sparks are one of the most accomplished country rock bands on the indie rock scene today.  Influenced by classic LA country rock styles rather than 90s alternative country, the group has been around since the late 1990s.  In The Tarnished Gold Beachwood Sparks have released perhaps their finest album to date, their masterpiece and a return to form (their last album came out 10 years before).

While there are a couple of throw away tracks (see the clumsy “No Queremos Oro”), the album as a whole is uniformly excellent – easily one of the finest country rock releases in the past 20 years.  “Sparks Fly Again,” “Mollusk” and “Tarnished Gold” strongly recall the Byrds from their Younger Than Yesterday and Notorious Byrd Brothers albums, as they combine Bakersfield/LA style country with trippy guitar work.  “Goodbye,” “Nature’s Light” and “Talk About Lonesome” find the group arriving at their own sound (indie folk, rock and country) and are more original than much of what’s here (even though what’s here is great).  “Water From The Well” one of the album’s finest songs, sounds like a classic and should be as it’s a great folk rock cut with catchy guitar figures.

The sounds here are soft, laid back and sublime – none of this music rocks hard but it doesn’t matter because the quality of the songcraft here outshines the lack of rock n roll music.  Without doubt The Tarnished Gold is one of the finest folk/country/rock/indie albums of 2012.  It’s an important album for Beachwood Sparks in that it shows the group’s maturity as song writers and performers.  Let’s hope Beachwood Sparks continues to release records this good.

mp3: Mollusk
mp3: Water From The Well

:) Reissue | Subpop | 2012 | buy from amazon ]

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  • Kurt B

    Welcome back…from whatever you were doing for the past 2 months!

  • anthony l

    I agree welcome back! I would pop in every few days and that clear light post was up forever…so glad to have one of my favorite obscurity review sites rolling again, Ty for making this run like a site and not a blog that just presses copy and paste off of allmusic, rym, etc. I do have a request though could you possibly review the Rich Mountain Tower S/T Lp, Its a great blend of west coast vocal harmony, rural rock, and a dash of psych. They are in my opinion as talented as Cowboy, Mason Proffit, or any other cosmic americana I can think of and I feel like they deserve a little spotlight and some love from the rising storm. I normally hate asking something like this kind of like a fan begging a band to come to their hometown on their facebook page, but i feel like if anyone could do them justice it would be you.

  • Jeff S.

    Will have to get out and look for this. Sounds akin to present day Teenage Fanclub from the two mp3’s sampled. P.S. Why have you not reviewed Edgar Jones’ Morphic Fields (VIPER LABEL)? Edgar was the lead singer/bassist for The Stairs from Liverpool, in the early 90’s and a true talent to say the least!

  • JEFF S.

    It’s a 45 rpm LP !

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