PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Goldspot: Tally of the Yes Men

Patrick Schabe

What do you get when Pop East meets Pop West? Unsurprisingly, a highly-melodic affair of the heart.


Goldspot

Tally of the Yes Men

Label: Union
US Release Date: 2005-08-23
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Siddhartha Khosla is an international man of melody. Growing up in an Indian household, he was raised on the melodic vocalists of the Bollywood studio systems, immersed in a musical world where music was always subservient to the melodies of the vocalists. Then, as he tells the story, one fateful day when he was 14, Sid realized that you could flip the switch on his parents' stereo from "tape" to "radio" and encountered his first taste of Western music in the form of a selection from R.E.M.'s Green.

Setting out on his own after college to London, he spent some time learning to write and play. When his visa expired, he was kicked out of the country and decided to make his way back to the US, landing in Los Angeles, where he's spent the last seven years. Along this circuitous journey, Sid picked up a great deal of inspiration from the music he encountered along the way. Settling into LA, he met and befriended Egyptian-born musician Ramy Antoun (drummer for Seal, and on various session projects), who brought his own diverse cultural background to his music, and together the pair formed a songwriting partnership to flesh out the music that Sid had been writing since his time in London.

Despite being a studio project from the outset -- the members of the current Goldspot line-up include session musicians and an engineer on Tally of the Yes Men -- the fact that the group spent over a year working with Sid on the project means that as a band, the group have a tight-knit cohesion when playing live, which has paid off in recent outings in the LA scene. And while the assemblage may be manufactured, Goldspot remains anchored by Sid's role as frontman.

So what does a culturally diverse crew of songwriters and musicians create when they get together to write and record? In this case, melodic guitar pop music that rests somewhere on the fence between indie pop and radio-ready adult contemporary. And if anything, that might be the one thing that holds them back from widespread success.

Or maybe not. Despite the fact that it sounds for all the world like a trilling Michael Penn song (by no means a bad thing), Goldspot's first single release from the album is "Rewind", which wins over the listener through a simple repetition of an escalating melody and some softly chiming xylophone work under an acoustic/electric blend of guitars and drums. It's not groundbreaking, but it's immensely affable, and the comfortable familiarity of the song works in its favor; enough so that the simple pop tune became a regular staple on LA's KCRW-FM. And that simple ease might be what spells success for Goldspot's formula.

But Tally of the Yes Men is more than window dressing around a simple radio single. Opening with "Rewind", the first five tracks of the disc are all compelling on different levels. "Cusp" offers all the hints of Echo of the Bunnymen, "Friday" demands attention from the adult contemporary set, "The Guard" is a blueprint for North American lo-fi indie pop, and "Time Bomb" takes all of those elements and builds them into one of the album's highlights. The time spent in the studio working on these tracks shows in the details, which are well crafted and highly polished. That kind of studio gloss might turn off the potential hipster audiences, but it shouldn't. This album comes across as the product of meticulous attention to detail rather than allowing processors to suck the life out of the songs.

Ultimately, it's the balancing act that makes Tally of the Yes Men so compelling. Fans of Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse stand a good chance of being won over by "It's Getting Old" and "Motorcade", while it would take little more than a properly high rotation to turn a song like "The Feel Good Program of the Year" or even "The Assistant" into a minor hit in the minivan set. If that seems bi-polar or like a "sell-out", people should remember that the Cure have spent plenty of time in the Top 40. This is quite simply a solid album of slightly melancholic pop songs built around a solid core of vocal melodies and compelling instrumentation. What more do you need?

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.