Golden Eagle is the debut of singer and songwriter Holly Macve, a distinctive alt-country singer with a world-weary rendering of Western-styled noir. Growing up with her mother's record collection, which included traditional blues, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan, she later discovered the likes of Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash. That sort of helps to explain the unlikely origin of Yorkshire, England for a musician who evokes scenes of a neglected rural America in her stylized cowboy balladry. She recorded the album with Paul Gregory of dream pop band Lanterns on the Lake, and he lends modern atmosphere to a set otherwise haunted by the past. The record opens, appropriately, with a spotlight on Macve's idiosyncratic delivery via minimal acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment. Incorporating yodeling and melisma into an attention-grabbing lament, "White Bridge" would be a showstopper on many albums but merely sets the stage on Golden Eagle. Later, lap steel and drums bolster the cantering "Heartbreak Blues" and the title track is a heartbroken piano waltz that transports listeners to an otherwise empty saloon. Like a yodeling Lana Del Rey, the affected vocal presentation is bound to annoy some, but for others her delivery, along with the album's brooding tone and poetic essence, will make fast fans.
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AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson