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We're not going to get rid of lo-fi indie music that easily, are we? And on the strength of this EP we wouldn't really want to anyway. Pierre Hall is the brains behind Manchester outfit Golden Glow, and is in fact their only permenant recording member, being joined by a band for live performances. 'Beauty/Duty' is his second EP and be ready for plenty of ticking drum machines, messy, unclean guitars, the general fug of wonderfully disorganised sound and a vocal style that changes, but never really acts as though it's auditioning for X Factor. The opening to 'Don't Forget Me' is a bit like stepping in the TARDIS and heading back to a bedroom demo session for a post-punk band from 1981; it's splendidly noisy and rough yet somehow it's pure pop at the same time. You could argue that this is perhaps more "no-fi" than "lo-fi". The vocals are tidied up and brought to the fore for the jittering 'Could've Known' which treads the fine line between brilliance and catastrophe. It is, of course, brilliance that is the result.
By the mid-point of the EP you realise that the quality of the backing isn't going to rise beyond demo level, and you also realise that you wouldn't want it any other way. That said, it's fascinating to hear two worlds collide on 'LiP' which is led by some perfectly played guitar soloing. However many different beats we get, all of them are drowning in reverb; you could argue that this is a cheap way of padding out the sound, but listening to the rest of the instrumentation it's clear this isn't the case. The chiming guitars and backing vocals on 'The Scene' being a case in point. 'Devastate' is little more than a demo, and this actually adds a certain intimacy which would probably be stripped away if it had been taken any further. There's a slight anti-climax with 'Gum Down' at the end; by no means a bad song, just a little less lovable than some of the other tunes here. Golden Glow have got some great tracks, the dilemma is whether or not to keep throwing out DIY recordings like this or aim higher and look to gain a wider audience? Me and his bank manager may disagree, but keeping things just as they are gets the vote here.
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