Every band with a love of neon and Depeche Mode turned to synth pop over the past few years, so it’s sometimes tough to differentiate between them all. But the five scruffy Minneapolis boys of Solid Gold took that set of familiar references and created something startlingly woeful and intimate.
Core members Zach Coulter and Matthew Locher met at the University of Wisconsin in ‘00. Guitarist Adam Hurlburt joined in ‘05 when they relocated to Minneapolis. The trio was joined by slide guitar player Shon Troth and drummer Adam Peterson, who happily replaced a drum machine.
Their full-length debut, Bodies of Water, drew comparisons to everything from New Wave bands like New Order to ’80s Manchester bands like Happy Mondays and Stone Roses. On “Who You Gonna Run To?” minor-key synth chords shimmer as they rise below deadpan vocals, lightly whispered. It’s as glistening and golden as anything being made today. On “Bible Thumper,” things are faster — but they’re only grimmer. Coulter’s vocals come out in forceful, little sad phrases. “In my head, something she said / You mean more than anything.” The lyrics are deliciously obtuse, puzzle pieces of expression that could be fit into multiple meanings, rewarding multiple listens.