Right off the bat, the title “Lucille The Wall” sounds a bit trippy, if not reminiscent of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” While the track itself has a dreamy quality to it, booming vocals add a power to it that is both refreshing and tantalizing (see also “Wanderin'”). There is a certain beauty behind the lyrics that draws in every ounce of attention, making it the perfect track to kick off All That Gold.
“One Trick Pony” sounds like a new approach to saying, “I have commitment issues,” via lyrics…and a lot prettier, if that is the case. The folksy, summery sound plays like sunshine dancing through the window on a quiet, lonesome drive. The piano sounds stunning when put into play with the rest of the track, giving a bit more room for vocal exploration. It is easily one of the most notable tracks on the album. With a similar summertime feel, “Foxtrot” is a crazy, youthful summer love that is all-encompassing. The grit and echoing vocals make the song pop, and really give it a soul (see also “May 21”).
The title track of the album is striking and cinematic, although it would be easy to say that every song is, so far. However, “All That Gold” perfectly features each instrument and pulls focus. It’s the acceptance that we come in to the world with nothing and will leave the world with exactly that. Something about a statement that grand is very powerful. Similarly, “Hallelujah” offers the same testament; “the things we place value on aren’t the most important things we’ll have.” It’s folk rock with a somewhat country element to it, which I’ve noticed slips in and out throughout the album (such as the story-telling element in “Bandit”). It’s soft and sad, but reiterates the same accepting tone as the title track.
“Morning Light” is the haunting lullaby of All That Gold; strikingly “bare” with an acoustic guitar and raw vocals, the track carries a little less drama, but still maintains an almost-cinematic fit. “Bigtime” is just as powerful and raw, with a melancholy tone that would bring chills to the coldest of heart, with a jaded sadness of what it really means to “hit the big time.” Melodically, it’s lovely sad, if I’ve ever heard it. “Happy Anniversary, Darlin” carries a similar sadness, which contrasts wonderfully with the somewhat happy tune. The song is a great example of what a love song should be; it’s sweet without being ridiculously over-the-top/in-your-face, and the more it builds, the more I like it.
“Cold Wind Blowin” comes in with a bluesier feel that seems to come out of nowhere, but really leads the album off to a perfect finale, acting as a climax of sorts. “Til I Die” still plays off of blues elements and a soulful sound, but there is a feeling of finality to it, closing off the album beautifully.
All That Gold has both a charm and an undeniable amount of skill behind it. There is a soul behind each track that drives the album. In a strange way, the album is perfectly named, reminiscent of the rich, golden hues of a summer sky. As we kiss the summer days goodbye and say hello to falling leaves, James and The Drifters have produced an album of quality that is easy to want to replay again and again and again.
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