Returning to the hustle and bustle of university life, it’s easy to forget the holiday vibe that engulfed me just days ago. I often marvel at how long it takes to establish that sense of calm, of total relaxation and forgetfulness and nothingmattersness that comes with holidays and a break in the expectations of real student life and just how quickly that same feeling can dissipate when confronted with the insurmountable obstacle that is existing on a regimented timetable and peanut butter sandwiches and rattling off disgruntled emails to carpark managers. There is no stopping the onset of back-to-school blues as, no matter the quality of class or teacher, the prospect of taking notice of the clock where once you were guided only by moods and lighting ineluctably threatens that zen-like state. While the shift is inevitable, I still see value in attempting to claw back some modicum of tranquility. That’s where Goldroom comes in today.
As if through some form of telepathy, Goldroom himself, aka Los Angeles local Josh Legg of synth-pop trio NightWaves, has explained that he was channeling the abandon of teenage years in putting together the dreamy, down-tempo ‘Fifteen’. “There are days, when you’re fifteen,” he said, “where literally nothing happens. You might run around all day trying to make something happen, but in the end, you just aimlessly wander, doing nothing.” That fascination with doing nothing comes across strongly on ‘Fifteen’ which has hints of the moody synth work that made Cliff Martinez’s work on the ‘Drive’ soundtrack so appealing. In a way, the is an unnecessary visual treatment. So potent is the tropical nostalgia that underpins ‘Fifteen’ that the sea spray and UV depicted in the video is almost as hard to ignore in the song as those angelic harmonies that swell with its chorus. Where weeks ago I believed KO KO had the most accurate manifestation of lazy summer days with their ‘Float‘, that honour might have to be passed on to Goldroom with this effortlessly sanguine track.
More exciting still than discovering a track that brings the endorphins of late weekday sleep-ins and pointless lunches that extend out into dinners rushing back is learning that Chela, the female vocalist on ‘Fifteen’, is in fact a local lass. While the only thing available on the Melbourne-based singer is a Triple J Unearthed page that probably serves to obscure more than reveal her persona, there is no doubting that her elongated, effected vocals are just what Goldroom’s soft groove needs to make it a compelling proposition. Just as a wasted day at 15 doesn’t necessarily grab you with its intensity but has something of a cumulative, sentimental effect, ‘Fifteen’ seems to be a slow-burner which grows into its own with every listen. It’s only on reflecting on a week’s worth of background plays, slotted in between more immediately memorable tracks, that the poignant power of this single, following on the heels of last year’s ‘Angeles‘ EP, is really felt. Like College’s ‘A Real Hero‘ from ‘Drive’, ‘Fifteen’ has a certain cinematic quality to it. In sepia, with speckles filtering through it, the song’s image of youth and fun and love is a strong one.
Goldroom – Fifteen Ft. Chela