By Tony Kay, For Seattle Weekly
People in Golden Idols songs never just bask in the lambent glow of romance. For the lovers vividly sketched out in lead singer/guitarist Patrick Broz’s sharp lyrics, love and sex are messy, absurd, frustrating, sometimes mundane, and — to coin the title of their new EP being premiered here — uneasy.
The Seattle quartet’s always been backing those sometimes funny, sometimes corrosive observations with a bed of strong pop melody. The template they’ve previously employed has leaned toward cheeky surf rock and post-punk. But on Uneasy, Broz and his co-conspirators have returned with a distinctive and nervously compulsive variety of funk woven into their sound.
“I Wanted You,” Uneasy’s opening cut, is (instrumentally, at least) a sleek and menacing bit of stripped-down soul, with Broz’s regular-Joe version of David Byrne’s croon relating a story of one-sided obsession, delivered with a sense of pained resignation rendered all the more disorienting by the lean groove laid down by bassist Jewel Loree and drummer Saba Samakar. Eric Peterson’s guitars surface in the mix to impersonate the kind of sensual, tremulous string surges that would’ve been right at home on a Curtis Mayfield record.
The rest of Uneasy pulls off similar wonderful hat tricks, delivering stories of kitchen-sink reality with booty-shaking grooves and melodies that effectively embed themselves in your head. The title track (and lead single) finds Broz fumbling to keep his dignity in a passive-aggressive relationship, as the driving melody integrates some surging wah-wah guitar and percolating funk organ.
“Nobody Else” opens with Samaker’s skittering cymbals snapping underneath some fetchingly woozy harmonies from Broz and Loree. The band’s soon generating another sprightly melody amidst lyrics that amusingly demystify being the object of a possessive lover’s fixation (“I have to admit, I never saw it coming/a crowbar to the back of the head”).
Warm keyboard notes and more chugging wah-wah push along Broz’s acerbic dissection of a played-out relationship and failed couples counseling on “Getting My Own Place.” And “Reliable” closes out Uneasy with Broz at his most laugh-out-loud funny, relating the thorny logistics of a clandestine affair while the band kicks out a jumping, almost ska-flavored jam. The finale of the song — all gorgeous boy-girl harmonies and diaphanous keyboards — hints at a real sense of beauty amidst the yes, uneasy quotidian reality of love and romance. As this EP’s premiere aptly demonstrates, a spoonful of sugar, and an unbeatable rhythm, help the bitter pill of romantic reality go down — and get down.
Golden Idols will hold their “Uneasy” EP release party at 9 p.m. June 29 at Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle. Tickets are $10. Ages 21 and over.