Label: Hardly Art
Double Jointer, the debut full-length by one of Hardly Art’s garage acquisitions, Golden Triangle, is an 11-track, noisy thundercloud that, on the horizon, threatens an imminent downpour of three-chord greatness, yet blows past, only providing glimpses of lightning rather than any real storm. Spearheaded by dual female vocalists, Vashti and Carly (another surname-less band), it’s hard not to compare the band’s sound to another NYC outfit, Vivian Girls. Additionally, Golden Triangle is tight with King Khan and BBQ- and it shows on record. The Vivians never sound this rhythmically haphazard or dangerous; they’re a good soundtrack for that lonely hipster’s brisk bike ride to a coffee shop, while Golden Triangle’s hollowed-out, reverbed fuzz swirls round and round like a boozy night on the town, Vashti and Carly making like Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, cheerleading the cause of inebriation, brick alleyways and flashing neon.
It takes a while for Double Jointer to really hit its stride- and it does, belatedly- as the first half tends toward a more swinging, sing-songy mood. The brief, opening “Cinco de Mayo,” “Blood and Arrow” and “Neon Noose” are all slight, twitchy garage numbers having flavors from antecedent bands- Black Lips here, KK&BBQ there- and with OJ and Cameron’s guitars not budging one inch from cavernous fuzztone and the young ladies tenuously harmonizing, yet weirdly detached, the songs run together into a midrange-y blur, individual tracks not easily recalled.
As if finding inspiration seven songs into Double Jointer, Golden Triangle light up with “Rollercoaster,” where drummer Jay awakens and plays snare rolls that suddenly add some welcome menace to the record. He shines again on “Eyes to See,” and a lead guitar, now psychedelic, lights up the night sky like heat lightning. “The Melting Wall” dials back the everyone-playing-loud-all-at-once dynamic of the rest of the record, showing that Golden Triangle are capable of some drama when they work on a song’s definition; here, Jay rushes headlong in a syncopated beat while the fuzz guitar revolves around his tempest. Later, “Arson Wells” has the band finally using the girls’ voices in response to one another rather than layered in unison; the result is a lot better than the thin, heartless duets that dominate Double Jointer.
This sudden momentum at the record’s end made me second-guess my indifference toward the opening half of Double Jointer, so much so that I can’t help but think that it would’ve made a tight little EP, instead of the middling debut it’s been released as. In the end, the album shows promise and reaffirms that New York still has some dirty back streets that no amount of rain would get clean.