Woodkid: The Golden Age – album review

Woodkid – The Golden Age (Green United Music / Island Records)
CD / DL / LP
Available now

French musician Woodkid mixes sophistication, originality and utter cool to create a world of potent cinematic soundscapes on his debut album.

 8.5/10

It’s great when you hear an album that compels you to want to tell everyone about it, get them to listen to it and then love it as much as you do. Well, I’ve found one: it’s Woodkid’s debut album ‘The Golden Age’ which has just been released and it’s very, very special.

Woodkid is actually a French man called Yoann Lemoine and as well as being a brilliant musician he’s already made a name for himself as an award winning music video director having worked with the likes of Lana Del Ray and Katy Perry. The videos he directs for his own rather powerful songs are like works of art so this fella is definitely one to watch.

It was over a year ago when he released his first EP, Iron, of which the title track is featured on the Assassins Creed Revelations video trailer. I was hooked on the first listen and then I saw the accompanying video which is pretty spectacular. Iron is on the new album you can watch it below.

 

Woodkid belongs in that special category of artists who write with sophistication and emotional depth and then splice it all with originality and utter cool. He sits alongside the likes of Rob Dougan, creating a world of potent cinematic soundscapes wherein you just want to sign up and pledge aural residency.

His voice puts me in mind of a slightly deeper Morten Harket of A-Ha (please don’t let that put you off, trust me it works and there’s absolutely none of the Take on Me style shrieking either – I promise). So, stick a really lovely, warm and distinctive vocal alongside a vast array of instruments such as strings and brass with the occasional rippling and peeling of keyboards and church bells on top of drums, drums and drums and you’ve got this addictive rhythmically pounding orchestra. At the very least you may be tapping your feet, at the other end of the scale you may just find your inner-self Riverdancing on a thunderous wave of rolling drums as you heartily knee drum in a knee drumming wonderland…possibly…maybe…

Title track The Golden Age sets the scene well, starting off as a gentle vocal meandering through an orchestral field that leads into more intent drumming pastures.

Run Boy Run is next and the drummer boys are still busy whipping us up and along into their fervently focused groove. The video to this song is absolutely stunning in a Where the Wild Things Are kind of way, as seen below.

 

The third song, The Great Escape has a clever way of creating a Black Beauty does Bonanza scenario whilst still making it sound good. Yep, not easy that, but he pulls it off!

The album has a few pensive moments where the songs are much gentler and sedate which balances out quite well with the more upbeat numbers.  I Love You definitely manages to put a smiley little bounce in your stride, (even though it’s actually a bit sad), and it’s also the third and latest single released from the album.

 

Ghost Lights is one of my eight or so favourites on the album, I love the lyric “However fast I dance to make the sun shine, I will never fall down”.

Conquest of Spaces is another strong track which at first listen had me declaring on twitter ‘Oh my giddy ear hearts, it’s so beautiful’, ‘cause it is. It all is really.

The Golden Age is a brilliantly impressive album. It’s intelligent, sophisticated and pretty darn awesome. I would also like to add that my name is Sonj and I’m an A-Ha fan who happens to think that Morten Harket has a great voice. Woodkid has a great voice too and he can sing to me absolutely anytime.

You can find out more about him on his website, on Twitter, on Facebook and iTunes.

All words by Sonj. You can find more by Sonj on Louder Than War in her author’s archive.

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