Lots of times when breathless PR types brand an album “long awaited,” it’s just a little bit of hype designed to pump up the sales possibilities. In the case of the Golden Filter’s Voluspa, the anticipation is more organic, but just as fevered. When Stephen Hindman and Penelope Trappes released their first single, "Solid Gold," in 2008, the duo's epic style of electro pop struck both bloggers and dance music fans as something quite exciting. The remixes, tours, and videos they have done since have only raised expectations for the record. Happily, Voluspa lives up to the hype, and thanks to a batch of excellent songs, stellar production by Hindman, and Trappes’ vocals, ends up as a stunning debut. The bandmembers themselves made the jobs of reviewers easy by claiming their chief influences are Pink Floyd and Saint Etienne. The Floyd is manifested in the lush arrangements, the portentous lyrics, and the overall feeling of largeness the duo creates throughout; the Etienne comes through in the sprightliness of the beats, the feather softness of the vocals, and the entrancing hooks. "Solid Gold" is unsurprisingly the standout; they will probably never top it for sheer tunefulness and ambition. That doesn’t stop them from trying, though, and the record is filled with songs that blend mystical atmospheres with dancefloor-friendly rhythms. "Dance Around the Fire" is the perfect album opener, giving a preview of the magical lyrics to come and a taste of the warm synths that pervade the rest of the record. Other songs you’ll want to throw on your “synth pop never really went away” mixtape are the thunderous disco jam "Thunderbird," the bubbling "Stardust," and the dreamy ballad "Moonlight Fantasy." In fact, much of the second half of the album is made up of slower, ballady songs, and the band handles them just as well as the uptempo tracks. The only song that is somewhat of a letdown is the overlong, undernourished ambient meanderer "Here We Go Again," which closes the album. Apart from that stumble, the Golden Filter have a firm handle on what they are trying to do and deliver an album perfect for those who like to do their dancing while dreaming about mythology and the mystical realm.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra