20 May 2019

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Gold Medal Famous - EP Review: Five Track

27 Mar 2019 // A review by Peter-James Dries

There once was a band called Gold Medal Famous. This isn't a limerick. This is an obituary. The footnote in the history books to which unique bands are relegated when they don’t receive the listenership they deserve while they’re here. It's of little consolation that the minority I've spoken to that have heard Gold Medal Famous love them.

By the time the seventh International Gold Medal Famous Month ends, the band will be on hiatus. One last layover before the red eye into oblivion. The inevitable last step before growing up and getting a real job.

I am guilty in their demise. We all are. If we loved them as much as we thought we did, we should have listened.

The industry isn't a democracy, but if it were, mediocre musicians with little relevance to our country’s social climate would still top the charts. Majority rules, stupid may they be. Consumers are fickle. They want more of the same yet sticking to your shtick bores them. They want something new and exciting but change your sound too much and you lose the closed-minded genre-sticklers. 

They were a prolific bunch, with more releases over the past 11 years than I have phalanges to count them upon. With the myriad of songs, styles, remixes and genres they’ve peddled over the years between their albums, EPs, and companion releases, there was sure to be at least a song for everyone.

They were innovators and experimenters, the kind you lock up on Matiu / Somes Island, like Victor George Penny. Weird and wonderful. Inventors of a death ray (allegedly). The kind of auteurs other bands would aspire to be like if they weren’t desperately trying to pawn off their own Soundcloud singles.

Activity was the last album of theirs I reviewed. The last album I heard. The only album I had heard before the onset of the F.O.M.O. any announced departure inevitably brings. It sounded like the result of renovating a kitchen by putting used electrical items into an industrial blender and turning it on, lidless, to the beat of a cheap Casio keyboard. A jarring noise compared to anything else I was reviewing at the time, yet I was entertained by their absurdity. The dark humour in their lyrics. Their seemingly carefree, nonchalant approach. Free from pretence. I took for granted how unique and special they were, having not listened to commercial radio for a decade.

Five Track is a stylistic improvement over Activity. More of a manipulated N64 than a tortured SNES. It’s traditionally structured and radio-friendly… Kind of… It would have been a hit in the dance-clubs of our shoulder-padded and neon-blue past.  

They’ve retained their political incorrectness, black comedy, and impact through subversion of norms on this EP. Pay attention to devolution of responses to the chorus of The New Dance Imperative. I missed it the first few times, but then my subconscious caught the end of one of the retorts.

The lyrics are just as catchy. Human’s love syncopation. The way the lines of We Don’t Say Words split unnaturally across bars makes it an untreatable ear-worm. But at least I’m finally free of “we bought a house”. Great. It’s back.

It’s almost like they’ve found peace. I Am Tanya and John Key is a Dick… oh, and The Angry EP were outlets for dissatisfaction. The voice of our generation. Gone is the political commentary on Five Track, replaced by broken celebration and lament of the mundane, and lessons in restraint. I guess it’s all part of growing up.

Yet, there’s also this queasy feeling… Like tripping without the stimulant. This surreal vibe. Subtly creeping up over Eyes are Glowing and peaking as Sleep, Sleep Fall Away fades away into a cat purr. Like you’re on the edge of syncope. Maybe it’s just me…

You ever see that one video, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. It’s like that. Everything is bright and optimistic, but there’s this dark undercurrent and a feeling that nothing will be ok again. Maybe it won’t be. Gold Medal Famous are gone. We should have listened.

You’ll think about them one day, ten years from now. Maybe go searching. I wonder how you’ll even find them now once torrents have dried up, Spotify and Bandcamp are obsolete, and the world’s economy has collapsed. It’ll be too late by then. It’s too late now. We didn’t deserve them.

You can find Five Track on the Powertool Records Bandcamp. If, like me, you enjoyed GMF’s swan song, check out the You’re On The Edge remixes on the band’s Bandcamp, and while you’re at it the Sleep, Sleep Fall Away cover version collection featuring Darryl Baser and Karl Jensen, two of my previous reviewees.

Five Track’s 5 tracks are 5 out of 5.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Gold Medal Famous

Gold Medal Famous is a three-piece genre fluid electropop act founded in Wellington in 2008. Known for their captivating live performances, complete with intense audience interaction and comedic stunts, you might love or hate them, but you won’t forget what you’ve seen.

Signed to Auckland indie label Powertool Records, Gold Medal Famous will be releasing their sixth album Activity on May 27 2017.

Gold Medal Famous are prolific recorders with 28 releases available on their own Bandcamp page in addition to their releases on Powertool.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Gold Medal Famous


Five Track
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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