Album Review: Lydia - 'Paint It Golden'

14 December 2011 | 10:57 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A return to form.

In May 2010, Lydia announced that they would be breaking up after a farewell tour. The two original band members, Leighton Antleman and Steve McGraw, who were also the main songwriters, decided they no longer wanted to make music anymore and that was that.

Exactly one year later Antleman announced the band was back, minus McGraw, after being convinced to release the new music he had written under the Lydia name by drummer Craig Taylor. The result is the band’s new, self released record, ‘Paint It Golden.’

Whilst the loss of a major songwriter has had an obvious affect on the band’s sound, when taken in reference to the final EP before the break up, Assailants,’ the affect is a positive one. ‘Assailants’ was an indie rock EP that passed under the radar due to its uninteresting content which could blend quite easily into a sea of similar sounding rock bands. The group’s second full length, 2008’s ‘Illuminate’ however, was something special, and the reason why so many people took notice of them in the first place. ‘Paint It Golden’ is more akin to that record, using beautiful flowing landscapes and shining melodies to make bright yet emotionally driven indie rock music that pokes its head above most of its competitors.

The underlying vibe to the new(ish) sound is a comfortable one, like Antlemen is revelling in his new found song writing freedom and control. Opening track Hailey begins with a gentle piano and strong melodies, slowly introducing a sturdy drum line and layers of instrumentation, which sit perfectly behind the vocal lines.

Antleman’s vocals are a unique and defining factor for the group, giving an alternative spin to everything they do and balancing out country folk tinged tracks such as Eat Your Heart Out. The album was recorded by Matt Malpass (Copeland, Manchester Orchestra) who has managed to balance out the many layers in the songs well. One of the highlights is the floating yet powerful Get It Right which moves from airy verses to a crushing chorus section.

The record closes with bright and poppy Skin Bones and a track that sums up everything preceding it, Birds, which intertwines beautiful piano lines with walls of guitars and a stand out, drum programmed bridge section.

Lydia never really reached a point where fans would be too precious about the line-up or think that Antleman producing new music under the old band name would be sacrilegious, which allows everyone to sit back and enjoy ‘Paint It Gold’ for the excellent indie rock record that it is.

1. Hailey

2. Dragging Your Feet In the Mud

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3. Eat Your Heart Out

4. Get It Right

5. Best Nights

6. I’ll Bite You

7. Seasons

8. Ghosts

9. Skin+Bones

10. Birds