Gold Key is an interesting prospect both in terms of concept and delivery. Formed in Watford, England with former and current members of bands such as Sikth, Gallows and Spycatcher they are now ready to unleash their début album Hello Phantom (Venn) on a world that will probably have already decided on what they think this band will sound like, but right off the bat, the sheer myriad of influences becomes apparent, and it really does take a few listens to appreciate the talent on show, sounding nothing like you’d expect.
I honestly thought I had them pegged but the album kept on surprising me both musically and lyrically.
‘Creep In Slowly’ kicks off the album and immediately you are confronted with a thudding rolling bass line which gives way to some sumptuous lead guitar work with the brilliant falsetto vocals of Steve Sears are weaving in and out of the track. His vocals add so much weight and emotion to much of the album drawing you in at every turn, he has a particular delivery which is at times understated but can change on a dime and sound like Matt Bellamy of Muse during the high notes.
The key to this album for me was being able to appreciate Gold Key’s knack for having a very appealing almost mainstream sound which brought to mind Radiohead but all the while giving the songs a rougher and yes heavier feel to them. Elsewhere ‘Hatches Down’ sounds like Pink Floyd being dragged kicking and screaming into 2017; its minimalist structure and concept allows Gold Key to create some wonderful soundscapes, just letting the track breathe and kind of do its own thing in a way.
Gold Key also venture into a more progressive arena, with the title track a real defining moment for the band. It’s a song that doesn’t show itself straight away again but I can see this track being echoed and expanded upon on future albums.
Hello Phantom is a fascinating proposition and has rightly garnered some attention for the band from mainstream radio in the UK. Don’t let the “commercial” side of Hello Phantom fool you, there is so much more to this band than at first becomes apparent. A sterling début then for a band doing something unique yet familiar in many ways.