The Golden D reviewed by Adam Benzine

Graham Coxon


It's got potential. You have to say that. At best you could call it a concept album, the only problem is that most of the concepts on this album are not enhanced into what they should be... full blown ideas.

Let's start with the good points, namely 'Satan I Gatan', 'Oochy Woochy' and the rather lovely 'Keep Hope Alive', the latter being a rather beautiful number which would've slid nicely onto 'The Sky Is Too High'.'Satan I Gatan' sees Graham taking one if his 10 'concepts' and developing it into a rather mental dance-rock hybrid, invoking memories of the Prodigy's 'Speedway'. The result is a rather astonishing track which ends up sounding like the theme tune to some mad professor's barmy experiment gone wrong. Top stuff. 'Oochy Woochy' is a rather loose comedy jazz number with a nice hook that hits its peak in the middle after a shaky beginning. The album's two Mission Of Burma covers, are both OK, 'That's When I Reach For My Revolver' probably being the better of the two, and certainly the closest thing the album has to a single, but to credit these songs would be irrelevant. If the two covers were the best on the album then Graham really would have a problem. Two covers on an album is taking the piss a bit, but when both of them are by the same band, well...

Unfortunately, after this it all goes a bit wrong. 'Don't Think About Always', 'The Fear', 'Jamie Thomas' and the rather scary 'My Idea Of Hell' are all rather... well... OK let's put it like this; Graham is good, right? But these songs are crap. 'My Idea Of Hell' sounds like Slipknot meets Cradle Of Filth, and I'm sorry, but I think both Slipknot and Cradle Of Filth are shit. 'The Fear', 'Jamie Thomas' and 'Don't Think About Always' are all rather grungy, mumbled lyrics, distorted throw-away numbers that frankly dammit, Coxon should be doing better than. Much has been made of the personal nature of Graham's lyrics on this LP, but what's the point if you can't fucking hear them? 'Jamie Thomas' is throw away thrash-metal crap. Sixth-form bands write these kinds of songs when they can't play their instruments and the singer can't sing. 'Fags and Failure' is another typical example - not even 2 minutes long. 'Who The Fuck?' on 'The Sky Is Too High' was novel, but I didn't want a whole LPs worth of it. 'Leave Me Alone' sounds so much like Idlewild that if it was an instrumental on one of their albums you wouldn't even notice. Presumably why Graham has the Idlewild guitarist in his live band.

On the simplest level, the album needs more tracks like 'Satan I Gatan' and 'Keep Hope Alive', and less tracks like 'Jamie Thomas' and 'My Idea Of Hell'. If this happens then who knows - he may even release a single one day.

The reasons for the lacklustre nature of this album? Well three weeks in the studio is a joke. You might question if I could do better given just three weeks studio time, but I wouldn't accept it. Albums take time and 'The Golden D' is plainly a rush job.

But I think the real reason lies, predictably, in Graham's shy personality. Interesting that he didn't tour TSITH but he will tour this album. Could it maybe be that performing acoustic personal songs on your own, under spotlight, is a lot harder than performing grunge on stage beneath a veil of distortion? I'll leave to decide. Maybe this album was meant to be interpreted live.

Well whatever, I'll leave you to come to your own conclusions, but for me, the 'D' in the title is for 'disappointment'.


Adam Benzine

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