By Emma Cohen of Indie Band Guru
Hailing from Chicago, My Gold Mask is made up of three talented artists — percussionist and lead vocalist Gretta Rochelle, guitarist and supporting vocalist Jack Armondo, and producer and engineer Balthazar de Ley.
Finally following up 2013’s Leave Me Midnight, the trio released their second full length album on March 3. It was worth the wait — this album is so interesting that it is impossible not to get sucked into its vortex.
Anxious Utopia sounds like a trip to space combined with retro pop culture. Twelve original tracks range in emotional feel but all share the same exhibition of skill that drew attention to My Gold Mask in the first place.
My Gold Mask Makes Strong Return
The track “Battles” has a strong and solid back track that includes a house-like eletronica feel meshed with haunting, howling vocals. The guitar in this song is what captivated me most, it seems to swoop in and rescue Rochelle from a decreasing tempo.
My favorite part of this track was the deep, constant, heavy outer spacey synth pulse which ran consistently from start to finish, regardless of the vocals or instrumentation. The video in particular shows off My Gold Mask’s artistic drive: it was boldly simple, proclaiming that they do not need an overdramatic video to capture their listeners.
My favorite track on the new album “Connect,” sounds like Lana Del Ray and Madonna had large influences in its making. There was something bewitching about the use of such light drumming that helped to embedded the song into my ears.
That same singular drum beat carried the entire song from start to finish and while it cut out occasionally, its mostly constant visibility made me feel swept away by the music. Rochelle’s vocals, which explored range but stayed perfectly in pitch, only added to its flow. This song made me feel spontaneously brave, like trying something daring.
My Gold Mask’s newest, Anxious Utopia delivers more than one could hope for or have any right to expect. It is a trip to outer space with an ‘80s boombox in hand, a combination of vocals, electronics, and guitar that cannot fail.
It may be different from the mainstream norm, but being different is never a bad thing. In this case, it is wonderful.