Gold Chains

When the World Was Our Friend

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Gold Chains showed himself marginally willing to break out of the ghetto of jokey underground rap (MC Paul Barman, Har Mar Superstar) with his first release for Kill Rock Stars. A collaborative LP with Sue Cie (aka Sue Costabile), it's the logical extension of the duo's "Let's Get It On," the dynamic closer to Gold Chains' 2003 LP, Young Miss America. When the World Was Our Friend constitutes an intriguing display of music-making with a point; the title may be a clue that there are political and social ambitions in this record. "No Tomorrow" lays out a dystopia that may not show any clear targets (sample lyric: "Tracks laid for the markets, moving slabs of carnage/Orient chain gang work all night, cyclops bloodshots in the morning light"), but does present a leap forward from tracks like "I Treat Your Coochie Like a Maze." Still, as intelligent as their lyrics are, when GC spends all of the choruses repeating "Shi-oh-oh-oh-oh, show us your haw-art" (as on "Show Us Your Heart") or "come to Cali come" ("Come to Cali"), listeners will be hard-pressed to stick around for the lyrical bromides to start working. Also, GC and SC fumble the rare luxury of a full-album collaboration with the state-of-the-art duo Vladislav Delay and AGF, another male-female production team, who have produced a raft of dance classics as Luomo. Unfortunately, although Delay spent time helping out with production, mixing, and mastering, the record doesn't show it. These brittle, next-wave-of-new-wave productions plow no new ground and barely serve the lyrics to which they're chained. Although Sue Cie displays enough talent here to take her farther, it's clear from the evidence that Gold Chains himself will have some trouble progressing.

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