Genres expand to allow a polyphony of voices to express themselves without being limited by a set of rules. Stephen Pierce, under the name Gold Dust, has reverted from his former notions and noises to more flower-child vibes with the release of Gold Dust. A member of Ampere—a Massachusetts screamo band started in 2002—Pierce had previously delivered aggressive, emotional outbursts of voice and guitar. Here, though, acoustic guitar and dreamy vocals dominate and allow a different view of the musician.
Perhaps there is something more venerable in “being the only one around,” in being meditative and less on the rampage. “Cat Song” is a sort of domestic song about lazy days and private thoughts, with a laidback melody and psychedelic tone match Pierce’s lyrics. Even when the words are hazy, a purposeful effect is at play. Inspired by The Byrds and ’60s/’70s folk-rock in general, it is no wonder that Gold Dust turned out the way it did: a drifting yet solid sound that is easy to sink into.
Most of the tracks carry on the same vibe as the album opens up. It does acquire a bit more bite later on with “All’s Well That Ends Well,” but even that brings along the echoing vocals and guitar. What’s most impressive about Pierce’s musicianship is his control and transformation—his ability to morph his sound from something eager to disrupt to something willing to wait and linger in a daydream.
Gold Dust delivers a satisfactory exploration into psychedelic-, folk-rock sounds, and the fact that it’s a solo release makes it all the more impressive. Such creativity mixing old and contemporary techniques and sounds creates its own voice, adding a memorable mark on the legacy of the styles from which Pierce pulls. It is through listening to the past, through investigating the roots of how to play an instrument, like the guitar, that the novel springs up.
Born in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Konstantin Nicholas Rega currently attends East Anglia's famous MA in Creative Writing with the Ink, Sweat and Tears Scholarship. He is a professional musician, the former host/producer of Jazz Jams on CSRfm 97.4, and twice a Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets finalist. He is the Fiction Editor for Crack the Spine and a contributor to The Black Lion Journal. He also blogs.