The Gold Needles: What’s Tomorrow Ever Done For You?
Providers of addictively high quality psyche pop, Hull’s The Gold Needles return with album number three. The enigmatically titled What’s Tomorrow Ever Done For You? is perhaps the best of their career to date.
Like their last album, Through a Window, the album starts with a question. Last time around it was Do You Want What I Need? This time they kick of with the albums title track. They set out their stall in style, background accordion and an edifying melody creating a sense of confident expectation.
As the bass kicks in for the next track, overlaid by fresh guitar hooks and Simon Dowson channelling his inner Bryan Ferry, the question should be, What’s Yesterday Ever Done For You? I Get the Pressure is a re-mixed/recorded version of Pressure from Pearls, the band’s debut album. This version comes with a renewed vigour, added depth and texture giving it a whole new lease of life.
Pure 1960s Sunshine Pop
The band’s roots are undoubtedly influenced by 1960s beat pop and psychedelia. Take, for example, Have You Ever Loved Somebody? Complete with tambourine and falsetto backing vocals. This is pure 1960’s sunshine pop re-created for the 21st Century.
Precious Times with it’s plucked guitars and accompanying keyboard takes me back to a plethora of bands I saw live in the 80’s. Somewhat fitting for the subject of the song, looking back on times spent and people met over the years. Though the bands sound may be retro and steeped in the past, it feels fresh and re-generated. Re-engineered and energised for today. There are many little twists along the way, like the guitar twang in Dead Man’s Hand, giving the song a western feel. The “red queen” may have been the “kicker” for the songs subject, but the band have dealt out a “winning hand for sure” in this album.
Slap bang in the middle of the album is a song I haven’t stopped singing in my head since I first listened to the album. It seeps into my thoughts like a daydream when I’m least expecting it. Appropriately, the song is Billy Liar, based on the film of the same name (which I had to dig out of my DVD collection and watch again as a result). The song has some deep warmly textured guitar riffing, and an earworm of a chorus helped along by an insistently frantic keyboard riff to go along with it. A wee octave change near the end adds to the emotive feelings of the song before the bell rings and fades.
The eerie call of the majestic peacock introduces the eastern tinged sound of If I Needed Someone. An appropriate pairing based on the song and its majestic harmonies. The happy go-lucky Susie is Sorted (She Doesn’t Care) is the subject of the foot tapping next track, with its cowbell heavy chorus. Soaring keyboards take centre stage on the Talk Talk tinged Counting the Days…something I think we’re all doing just now. Yes, I know that is not the subject of the song, in fact, everything about this album and its sunshiny outlook helps take your mind off how many days you’ve not left the house for.
The final three tracks on the album play like a trilogy of sorts, all musically different but with a similar lyrical theme. The first of the triumvirate is The Story of My Life, the crunch of guitars and soaring optimism of the glorious melody belies a bleaker tale. The opening lines “let me tell you ’bout the bitterness, let me tell you ’bout my regrets” is just the start of the story…Despite the list of regrets and negativity in the tale, you cant help but being drawn along and uplifted by the song.
Things take a darker turn as the guitars fade replaced by a bleak atmospheric keyboard soundscape introducing Realm of the Black Dog. The metaphorical dog howls and the guitars crash in, building to the chorus. Anyone who has been visited by this dog will relate to the “curse that’s not invited”. Brutal and honest.
Drown This Sorrow returns to a sunny optimistic sound. Gently strummed guitar, bolstered by brass, and a soothing string laden melody. The sunny disposition is again belied slightly by the lyrics. An internal discussion about not being able to face the day or go on. There is, however, a sense of hope and acceptance in the lyrics. “I’m gonna drown this sorrow…tomorrow is another day”. Tomorrow is indeed another day. And another opportunity to listen to this uplifting collection of songs.