Alice Gold

Seven Rainbows

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Armed with a free-spirited nomadic back-story (including a six-month U.S. road trip in a Winnebago won during a poker game and a spell teaching English in a Luxembourg castle) and a rough-around-the-edges voice inspired by musical idol Janis Joplin, guitar-wielding twenty-something Alice Gold may be a child of the '80s, but her debut album, Seven Rainbows, is most definitely a byproduct of the '70s. Eschewing the retro-soul sound of her contemporaries, its 11 tracks produced by Dan Carey (Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen) instead hark back to the classic blues-rock of Led Zeppelin ("Orbiter"), the psychedelic soul of Jimi Hendrix ("Conversations of Love"), and the acid folk of Jefferson Airplane ("Sadness Is Coming"). But while the distorted guitar riffs, meandering solos, and snaking grooves authentically recapture the hippie-ish nature of the era, they often overwhelm both Gold's gritty tones and her knack for creating big pop hooks. Gold's first release since parting company with EMI (where she recorded under her real name of Alice McLaughlin) is a much more enticing prospect when it allows the contrastingly breezy melodies room to breathe, such as the girl group harmonies and foot-stomping folk rhythms of the ode to catharsis "Cry Cry Cry," the languid melancholy of dreamlike opening track "Seasons Change," and lead single "Runaway Love," a chic slice of Parisian lounge-pop that sees Gold tempt her lover with the promise of various globetrotting romantic getaways. With her whiskey-soaked vocals and bohemian background, Gold certainly has the credentials to pull off this kind of pastiche, but thanks to the slightly plodding arrangements, Seven Rainbows only really does justice to her undeniable talents when it abandons its Woodstock-aping ambitions.

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