123 Agency presents
GOLD CLASS - "Drum" Album Tour
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Adam Curley needed a word - a hook on which to pin his band's new album. "Drum is primitive," says the frontman for Melbourne four-piece Gold Class. "It's physical. It's the beat of your heart. It's immediate. It comes from the past, but it also beckons to something in the future."
It holds other dualities, too - submission and authority; repetition and propulsion. And yet at its core, it's just something you can dance to.
Drum is the bold second album from Gold Class. The follow-up to 2015 debut It's You, Drum is a brasher, vivid widescreen account of a band hitting its stride while betraying the complex signs and scars of a life since lived.
"I wanted Drum to bridge the gap between being onstage making this loud, rhythmic music and just being a person in the world," says Curley. "In life things are funny, you have crushes on people, things are stupid, you stay out all night. But you're also part of what's going on in the world and you have your own big struggles. I wanted to try to piece that all together."
Formed in 2014 by a union of workmates and friends from a Melbourne bar and creative-writing course, Gold Class' string of lean, explosive live shows culminated in It's You - a distillation of the then-fledgling group's wiry punk, carried by Curley's booming baritone and themes of personal politics, sexuality and identity. The album was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize and nominated for an Age award, and saw Gold Class play sold out shows across Australia and London, at local festivals Golden Plains and Splendour in The Grass, as well as international sets at SXSW, London Calling and Primavera Sound.
Such activity found its way into Drum. "We had a better sense of how we operated as four people," says guitarist Evan Purdey. "We found we operated best having space between instruments, with peaks and valleys in the dynamic. We didn't want to just pummel people with straight-out aggression in the set. We wanted more of an identity to each song."
These new shades are integral to Drum. Recorded at Melbourne's Head Gap studios and co-produced by Gareth Liddiard of The Drones, Drum sees Gold Class explore new territory in both songwriting and sonics. Opening gurner 'Twist in the Dark' lifts on Curley's howl over an escalating pummel, and 'Rose Blind', 'We Were Never Too Much' and closer 'Lux' each hinge on the ragged marriage of new pop smarts and furious guitar squalls. But there's a space, too - see the keening, early-morning comedown of 'Trouble Fun'; skeletal echo of 'Mercurian'; the gentle ebb and flow of 'Place We Go'.
Liddiard was instructive in helping the band capture these new moods. "We wanted to take a risk," says Curley. "He was the one person everyone felt could do something interesting with the album. He was able to simultaneously push us outside our comfort zone and help us achieve what we set out to do in the first place."
"We wanted to create a thematic flow through the record," says Purdey, "create different tones and moods to reflect that, which we hadn't really done before. We talked a lot about Drum being nocturnal, I remember Adam saying 'These songs take place at night.'"
Curley can trace that motive to one song in particular. "I wanted the album to be defiant and full of skin and trouble and spit and love," says the singer. "'Get Yours' was the first of the lyrics I wrote, about being down at the bottom. But even though I'm there, I still have full agency. I'm a powerful person, even when I'm down and vulnerable. That's what I wanted - something that cuts to how you feel sometimes, full of rage and stupidity and humour. That felt honest. You never come out of something ultimately in charge or powerful. Everything is a process. Everyone is always okay and not okay, just like the world. Your place in it always needs to be renegotiated."
Drum distils that messy scope into a brave, sometimes brutal but beautiful new document. Whatever will come, the beat - at least - goes on.
"We played out like an echoing drum / We were beaten, but I still feel a thump"