Goldrush Ozona

[Better Looking; 2005]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: indie rock, indie pop
Others: Starsailor, Mercury Rev, Fine China

Like a scene out of Deliverance, Goldrush's van broke down in the middle of nowhere Texas. All they saw was sand, road, and a truck stop. But it was all Goldrush needed to make it through the day. The legend of Ozona, Texas is largely shrouded in mystery, but much beer, bourbon, and craziness was passed around that fateful day. The Oxford, England band has become Texans for a day and lived to tell the tale.

Ozona, named after the podunk town, is the supposed product of the band's experiences and visions. The sound is gritty, the pop a little down, and the melodies a little slower than the band's previous outings. It's as if the little UK band-that-could absorbed the sad tales and sob stories of an entire generation of Texans and translated it into a nice little Britpop-influenced package. Nothing fancy, nothing sweet, just lots of crunch, angst, and heartbreak. Where the pop ends, the woe begins. Tracks such as "Counting Song" start off innocent enough -- almost too innocently. Eventually the song yields its cautious optimism for the warm ruminations of whiskey-drenched distortion and pounding a pounding guitar riff matching the anxious heartbeat of a man down on his luck with only the clothes on his back and the boots on his feet to make it through to the next payday. The tender isolation of "Let You Down" takes the band back to the bleak night of Ozona, Texas. The dusty wind, the quiet road, and the clear dark sky are all easy to hear in the song's twangy breakdowns.

The album may not be the most shining example of small town pop, but it has some great moments that are hard to ignore. Goldrush did learn something about the south and about themselves that night, and while Ozona may reflect some of those lessons, there are plenty more Goldrush must explore and share with the world before they're ready to take the next step towards pop perfection.

1. Wait for the Wheels
2. All the Faces
3. Jupiter
4. Counting Song
5. Feel
6. Let You Down
7. Each Moment in Time
8. Come On, Come On
9. There's a World
10. What I Thought
11. Outro

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