343. Golden Rough – “This Sad Paradise”

This was the first album I bought from the Golden Rough folks.

They stepped into my view by joining the Candle Records stable. They were a bit of a leap for the label, as they were less bouncy and poppy than their counterparts, and dare I say it, more mature.

The signing was well-timed. The band toned down their checkered shirt, pedal steel action here. More instruments were brought into the mix (keys, organ, other tinkly stuff), and the sound became fuller and more luscious.

Keeping up the Oz-G connection, this could indeed have been a Grant McLennan effort of sorts. The songwriting seems effortless, the vocals are laidback yet plaintive. The keys play of the riffs perfectly.

The outcome is a masterpiece of confident, well-balanced and captivating adult-pop-rock. This is the Aussie Summer album folks seem to think The Cruel Sea capable of producing. There are poignant odes to post-work drinking, tales of musical dreams and failed aspirations.

I count at least five absolute classics of this album – Novotel, Johnson’s Wax, April Wind, Unity Grey, Green Room – plus the title track. That’s six! Lovers Rock aint bad either.

At the risk of vitriol from rabid Lucksmiths/Darren Hanlon fans, I declare this possibly the supreme Candle release.

File under: Not sad, rad

4 responses to “343. Golden Rough – “This Sad Paradise”

  1. i agree with everything you have said. a largely ignored modern Australian classic. i think it got lost in the wash of other, lesser “alt-country” releases kicking around at the time, from both here and overseas. if i remember right it may have even come out just as the popularity of the “genre” was on the wane. its a shame it slipped through the cracks because the songwriting (as you say) is top notch.

    awesome blog. keep up the good work.

  2. The bass player could still rock a chequered shirt! Even if her playing was a little average live…

  3. absolutely agree, this is really the standout album of the entire Candle list, and an almost unknown australian classic.
    I also rate Fisherman and Swallows – that makes eight!
    Lucksmiths have many nice turns of phrase and Darren’s great but for raw sentiment and aching beauty this wins hands down.

  4. All class. Check out Twin Firs too if you get a chance.

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