Evolving from the seminal Bear vs Shark and Wildcatting, Bars Of Gold have been quietly building up a following since their debut “Of Gold” was released in 2010, and they follow up their excellent 2013 LP “Wheels” with “Shelters”; the first album they’ve issued exclusively through Equal Vision (despite reissuing their back catalogue through the label recently).
Here, the band perfect the light work they’ve made in the past of throwing genres in a blender, crafting an urgent, accomplished sound across a nine track album that rarely hands over a track that clocks in at less than four minutes. Despite taking heavy influence from jazz and post rock, “Shelter” is a punk album at heart, with versatile, accomplished instrumentation cycloning around the fits and starts of sonic anxiety from Marc Paffi’s elastic vocal.
Bars Of Gold are yet to etch out the same cult status of the members’ former outfits, but here they proves they deserve all of the same plaudits. From the frantics of “Madonna” and “$20”, to the delicacies of “Montana” and “G”, the band have created a varied, complex collection of meandering twists and sharp turns, surpassing and building on everything they’ve put together to date.
“Shelter” is an album that’s been well worth waiting six years for. It’s a pleasure to listen to and a marvel to explore at greater depth, and there’s should be little doubt that it’ll introduce Bars Of Gold and their back catalogue to a sea of new listeners. For those that enjoy their music off-the-wall, raw and passionate; this is for you.