Gold Cash Gold

Paradise Pawned, Vol. 1

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The Detroit rock revitalization, helped immeasurably by the White Stripes, gets another shot of adrenalin from this scraggly quartet. Although a lead singer who also plays keyboards doesn't quite fit the magnetic frontman mold of say Iggy Pop or Alice Cooper, Eric Hoegemeyer's tuneful sneer tears and claws at the band's inventive and sometime intricately arranged rock. Gritty three-chord rockers like "Vultures" take a page from the Del Fuegos playbook, infused with offbeat, often stream of consciousness lyrics ("I seen the demons in the sewer vents, they shot me full of their compliments") that add a slightly pensive quality to these boozy raveups. Even a ballad like the Cracker-sounding "Run Brother Run" is edgy and bluesy, prickled by ragged harmonica against its simply strummed guitar riff. "Isolation," another ballad, floats along on choppy waters and frustrated lyrics ("Now that you're gone, we can wake up in isolation") that cut like a street gang's stiletto. It's the experimental clattering percussion and portentous harp that shifts the closing epic "Time to Go" from ominous to rocking and back again. Somewhat like older Aerosmith, especially on the anthemic, singalong chorus of "Same Old Blues" ("I'm just a preacher for rock and roll, Now I'm singing my sermon"), like all great bands, when Gold Cash Gold latches onto a solid hook, they know how to hammer it home. Smart, detailed production adds a slightly arty edge to their unkempt rock, resulting in a terrific debut that, although it runs about three songs too long, is a qualified triumph.

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