ALBUM REVIEW: Bars Of Gold – Shelters

Release Date: April 12th 2019
Label: Equal Vision Records


There’s one thing that you definitely can’t accuse the Michigan’s Bars Of Gold of, and that’s not being unique. Underneath the good old fashioned rock, you will hear elements of prog, jazz, punk, and many other assorted styles throughout their sound.

The band – consisting of vocalist/guitarist Marc Paffi, guitarists Scotty Iulianelli, John Gaviglio, and Ben Audette, bassist Nick Jones, and drummer Brandon Moss – have brought an enigmatic ball of energy to the table with their third studio album, ‘Shelters’.

‘Worthless Chorus’ opens things up, and the first thing that hits you is Paffi‘s voice which, especially on this song, is very much reminiscent of shock rock pioneer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. For the first two minutes, the song hits like a standard hell-for-leather rocker, then stops suddenly and enters a dreamy, almost hypnotic guitar section, which carries on throughout the remaining three minutes, getting progressively heavier until the final climax.

The album changes pace with almost every song, going from the hard rock ending of ‘Worthless Chorus’ to the softer, more ambient opening of ‘Atlantic City’. Yet, despite the almost constant changes of pace and style from song to song, the whole album feels familiar. Even through all the changing styles, there’s no doubt what album they belong to.

As the record progresses, the styles get more and more varied. ‘$20’ dives into a noisy punk territory, while the opening drum beat of lead single ‘Sometimes’ is reminiscent of jazz drummers like Gene Krupa and Max Roach, whilst the penultimate track, ‘Plywood To Pine’, brings an air of Biffy Clyro into the mix.

‘Shelters’ is a 45-minute long adventure. The merging of different styles gives the album, and the band, a unique edge that has been executed almost perfectly.