Have you an hour to listen to a defining indie-folk album with real passion, meaning, and heart? Good, because we're taking a look at Arthur Unknown, the record from newcomer John Gold.
For a Floridian, Gold is pleasantly normal. Or at least so far we haven't heard any strange news from him. And that is where we cut the cracks at Florida.
Arthur Unknown is a pleasantly manic record with heart and soul. Once you think you know what's coming, Gold hits you with a right hook and drags you down an alleyway of full of good surprises. Staccato bursts of energy mixed in with the soft sway of the other facet give an incentive to keep listening through some of the more emotional pieces, which in and of themselves, are absolutely fantastic.
As you'll find, Arthur Unknown is an incredibly revealing record. Many of the things you'll find in the music industry, especially the underground, is populated by albums put out to turn a profit, attract a fan base or the ear of pertinent individuals high up the chains, but not this one. This one is a special kind of something.
The album full immerses the universe into Gold's mind. The lyrics are general enough that they can seep into anyone's soul, and find a place inside your heart and mind, invoking memories, feelings, and inciting excitement you didn't know you were capable of. At the same time, the lyrics can be discerned as one of those rare looks into the spirit of the artist as tracks like "Completely At Ease" and "Thirty Kids A Year For Life," which serve as interlude tracks of mostly spoken word narrative, whether they're an honest confession, give us an incredible and almost heartbreaking look into John's personal life and character.
It's easy to see that he's an open, worn, and sensitive individual which only adds to the music he's created with this release. Some folks just sing for the hell of it, but John Gold gives you something else. Every line may not be perfectly dressed to the nines with classical control and autotune we're all so fond of hearing, but the presence of rawness, strained emotion, and real character are reminiscent of the great Dylan's early work, and set him on a stage beside himself. With folk, and consequently indie-folk becoming more and more popular, John Gold stands as a shining icon of what folk music is and always should be, which is an awesome representation to have for the smaller-time storytellers out there looking to share an experience with their audience and their fans.
What's more, John did this whole thing himself. With few exceptions, the album in its entirety was written, composed, arranged, produced, recorded and released independently. This level of commitment to the art is seldom seen in the mainstream, and is a welcoming herald for what should be a long string of bands following suit.
All in all, Arthur Unknown is a record you have to hear for yourself. If there's one album from an unsigned artist you listen to this year, make it Arthur Unknown. Not just because it's an amazing indie-folk record that pretty much defines what it is to be a musician in the underground scene, but also because the 18 tracks, 1.07 hour(s) of music is something of a look inside yourself too. Get lost in the music, and find out what John Gold's marvelous release means to you.