It's beyond cliche to call sweeping, orchestral music "filmic," but in the case of music video director Yoann Lemoine's debut album as Woodkid, The Golden Age, the term fits. Though he's worked with Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray, Lemoine's own music is more in line with Antony & the Johnsons -- lavish, often torchy songs that pair dramatic backdrops with his charmingly imperfect vocals. While Antony fans will probably hear a lot to like on The Golden Age, Woodkid's approach isn't as intimate; instead, Lemoine's focus is often on the massive sounds around him. Those sounds are undeniably impressive, particularly on the title track, which opens the album with slowly building strings and brass that eventually unfold into dramatic, suite-like movements, and on "Run Boy Run," which has all the drama of a spaghetti Western score. At times, Lemoine's vocals and songwriting threaten to get lost in the sheer amount of music surrounding them, but just when it seems like it's all too much, he reins things in on "Boat Song" and "Where I Live," both of which suggest he should pare things down more often. Still, Lemoine gets a surprising amount of range out of his maximalist approach, from the more classical-leaning "Stabat Mater" to "I Love You," which with its samples and intricate beats, is the closest Woodkid comes to a contemporary pop song. A beautiful, if at times exhausting album, The Golden Age shows Lemoine is skilled at making music as well as music videos.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares