Golden Ball | The Antique Barking Swirls of Dawn (Honeymoon Music)

cd_goldenball8. Golden Ball won the Philadelphia City Paper 2005 Choice award for "Best Weird Band." I'm inclined to give them that same commendation right now.






Oh hell, it was bound to happen sooner or later. If you keep writing about CDs long enough, you eventually come across one or two that you simply can't write a normal review of. Such is the case for me with this mind-boggling sophomore platter by Philadelphia's Golden Ball. This thing is dizzyingly original, organically freakadelic, and woven with the finest aesthetic fibers. It sounds like nothing you've ever heard before—and a bunch of other things you might've heard before.

Here's some random things to know about the disc, in lieu of that "normal" review that I just can't come up with right now:

1. David and Gillian Chadwick spearheaded this band a few years ago. They both sing, play guitar, and cast spells (the phrase "substantial witchfactor" appears on the press release listing Gillian's contributions).

2. Bass/synth player/percussionist Norman Fetter is a former krautrock DJ.

3. Two of the instruments credited on the truly stunning song "Stowaway Discovery" are "rummelpots" and a "can of change." Meaning you're hearing little sounds you've never heard before.

4. The well-named "Signature Abstract" contains the representative lyrics, "Dance for what on earth we came for/ Bursting free/ Scented curiosity/ Blooming ripe in the light." That'll do for a symbolic summary.

5. "Goosebump Safari" is one of the best song titles I've ever heard, even though I experienced more actual goosebumps in the spellbinding final tune "Everlasting Abandon."

6. Any number of lyrical phrases pondered while you read the sleeve will give you insight into the artistry at work here, i.e., "Reach deeply into sweet dark fictions," "Burning brightly in delightful ease," and "Unabashed dream day of epic trance."

7. All five members of the band (the others being Sarah Jacoby and Julius Masri) are credited with playing percussion. Somehow, I think that says a lot.

8. Golden Ball won the Philadelphia City Paper 2005 Choice award for "Best Weird Band." I'm inclined to give them that same commendation right now.

9. There's some pure hippie idealism buried in this record, but somehow it manages to not sound retro, unless you regard concepts like love, freespiritedness, and vivid imagination as retro.

10. This album is pretty, and complex, and pretty complex. But it's simply wonderful. Oh, and the press release is justifiably inspired, also, with descriptive lines like "giggling existential finger puppets" and "they play them (i.e., the songs) in collaged arrangements that spin around like mobiles…"

So, dear listeners, is that enough to interest you in this amazing record? 'Cause no ordinary review of Swirls of Dawn will suffice. It's certainly one of the most refreshing, imaginative, formula-defying platters I've heard in years, worth every minute spent deciphering its fantasmagorical sonic mosaic. A | Kevin Renick

RIYL: Taking Tiger Mountain by Jefferson Airplane with the Piper at the Gates of Dawn making Pet Sounds in the Rain Parade before Forever Changes…

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