WESTELAKEN – ” The Golden Days are Hard “

Posted: August 30, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

With a name that sounds like a remote village in Sweden, Westelaken are actually a quartet from Toronto, Ontario. Having first emerged back in 2018, with their self-titled debut, the band have had a productive 2020, releasing a split-EP with fellow Torontonians Hobby, as well as one of their own, The Pool of Blood. While that record only arrived last month, the band have wasted no time in following up with their most impressive step to date, brand-new album, The Golden Days are Hard, ten songs that show both the variety and quality of Westelaken’s songwriting.

In some ways, Westelaken could be pinned as an alt-country band, yet they’re not one that fall neatly into any particular box. Across the ten tracks they span influences and genres, from the Neutral Milk Hotel-like opening track, The January Song, through to the title track, a 10-minute opus, which combines the emotional vocals of Daniel Johnston with the bar-room balladry of Kyle Craft. Lyrically too, The Golden Days are Hard is a record that explores the layered emotions of modern living, an album laced with fear, resignation and just a touch of hope, it muses on topics of death, friendship, and finding the kindness that’s still left in humanity. While it could have been a heavy record, The Golden Days are Hard manages to portray a brightness that’s beyond its themes, it sounds like a bold next step, from a band whose talent could take them anywhere.

here’s an album what’s got ten types of songs.
The January Song, that’s a country-lobster city-lobster type song.
The April Song, dying type of song.
Grace, that’s a dying and living type song.
Mercy, “milk-of-human-kindness”, that’s an eye-of-the-dog, three-types-of-souls type song.
The Pool of Blood is a two paths type of song and The August Song is a one path type of song.
White Lichen, that’s a “you break it you buy it” type song.
The October Song, that’s a “you bought a ghost story and there are no refunds” type song.
Ghosts Explode, that’s a living and dying and worship the sun type song.
The Golden Days are Hard, now that’s a you-know-me-better-than-I-know-myself type of reckoning type song.

there are several additional type songs that these ten pick up here and there like stray radio signals ricocheting off street lamps and open palms and little rocks collected between the sidewalk and the yard. feel free to take note of ’em but a comprehensive list won’t be much more useful than the one we’ve got here anyhow.

Westelaken is
Alex Baigent – electric bass, upright bass, synth on track 1, backing vocals (all over the place but most prominently in tracks 1 and 9)
Rob McLay – percussion, synth on track 10, backing vocals (including harmonies on tracks 1 and 8)
Jordan Seccareccia – guitars, vocals
Lucas Temor – piano, banjo, backing vocals
Paul Vroom – “organ” on track 3, backing vocals
Rachel Bellone – vocals on track 3
and Slurry (Rachel Bellone, Tago Mago, Patrick McKenna, Steven Lourenco) on group vocals
Released August 21st, 2020

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