Music Reviews
The Golden Age

Woodkid The Golden Age

(Green United Music) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

In today's modern age, a medieval folk-rock album is sort of refreshing. On The Golden Age, director turned musician Woodkid (aka Yoann Lemoine) evokes feelings of royalty, honor, and pain through heavy drum use. This is an album that would be perfect as the soundtrack to a season of Game of Thrones.

This album has sound variety covered, featuring pounding drums, gentle piano, church bells, horns, and woodwinds. It gives the album a very regal air, and Woodkid has a world-weary voice that sounds exhausted and heartsick, but somehow still defiant to the end. Golden Age casts Lemoine as a 21st-century bard, spinning love stories with bombastic accompaniments and horn and string virtuoso, giving his songs the feel of grand epics seemingly without effort.

Opening with the title track, which starts with a slow building piano ballad and Lemoine's aching vocals but halfway through quickly escalates into a symphony of stringed instruments, trumpet and pounding drums, this album sweeps along like a roller coaster. The emotional highpoint of the album may be the second track, Run Boy Run, which is a mixture of pulsating drums, church bells, and surging vocals: Run, boy, run / This world isn't meant for you." The song combines urgency and beauty to create something that feels like some forgotten musical odyssey.Another standout is the decidedly medieval Iron, a song with more than a little menace to it. Foreboding horns blare an introduction, then are swiftly undercut by slinky drums and some seriously dramatic lyrics: A million miles from home / I'm walking ahead / I'm frozen to the bones, I am / A soldier on my own / I don't know the way.' Iron is as close to the middle ages as you'll ever want to get.

The Golden Age is an album that requires you take it seriously, and thanks to the clever songs and incredibly fun drumming, it's not hard to do. There are a few tracks in the middle of the 14-song affair that don't quite have the same excitement as their predecessors, but the few disappointments help to remind you of how good most of these songs are. 

This is a pretty incredible debut album from Lemoine, who has found a way to incorporate new musical philosophies and still sound like he wrote this album in a tavern in Ye Olde England. It's a little bit of a hybrid act, with the solo singer/songwriter rejecting the guitar and instead surrounding himself with layers of sound and chanting choruses. It sounds both chaotic and a little magical. Although there are a few stumbles, and its grandioseness is easy enough to smirk at, it's worth giving The Golden Age a chance just because there aren't many albums like it.

Woodkid has a sound that is unique in the music landscape, and most of the songs on this album are exciting, evocative tracks that play to the most basic of emotions: love, loss and redemption.