While this effort from the Chicago supergroup isn't their most rocking tour de force, it is still a solid effort that sees them running through musical styles that blur lines and include everything from bizarre Middle Eastern grooves to a sort of chunky "math blues" feel. The musicianship on Golden Summer is, of course, quite impressive, with members of Trans Am, Royal Trux, and more pulling out their best chops on thunderous cuts like "Recital (Spindac Volare)" and "Golden," but the increasing tension of the tracks never really finds a solid release. The band tends to degenerate into bluesy jams that border on pointless guitar wanking, and in some cases they simply rely too heavily on drawn-out syncopated riffs that start off convincing but get a bit old over time. Sung and screamed vocals in a style reminiscent of early Dischord releases never quite settle into the mix, though over time the band would go on to get this right and settle into a funkier approach that is just a little less grating. Golden Summer is a piece of music that clearly looked good on paper, yet somewhere along the line things get blurry, and too many uneventful and drawn-out tracks only serve to result in an album that is slightly frustrating considering the potential of the members and the power of their later work.
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AllMusic Review by Peter J. D'Angelo