A music blog from Ireland.
Start your week with magnificent music: listen to Goldmine. I’ve been playing it a couple of times a day since last week and tweeted yesterday that this fourth album is the best thing Nina Hynes has ever done, and that’s saying something when considering the quality of her back catalogue. Dancing Suns is the name Nina has bestowed upon this new chapter in her work, a crowd-funded collaboration with her husband Fabien Leseure and a band of talented musicians who played on the record and if they had picked a better release date and given the album the promotion needed to reach as many ears in the music industry as possible, there’s no doubt to my mind that this would be a very strong Choice Prize contender. As it stands, released on 28 December, it feels timeless. I daresay this will hardly age at all, its romantic and wistfully wonderful material retaining its warmth for a long time to come.
The production in Goldmine is absolutely stunning and as a blogger who gave the 2011 Fundit campaign for this album a considerable push, my faith has been amply rewarded. Musically, you can hear where every cent of the big budget of this record went: it’s all so wonderfully well-produced with instruments that sound out with the richest tones and timbres. It cuts a broad swathe that twines together a sweep of influences and evocations, at times as intimate as a cabaret lounge, at others as vast as a cinema orchestra.
Personally, it reminds me of Devotion-era Beach House, shimmering and soft as a cascading handful of sand, but that band did not produce anything resembling such high quality and clarity in their recordings until they’d been on the road, making money for a long, long time. Lo-fi is all well and good for rough and raw talents who have to make do with what they’ve got but the argument for properly-funded music is made right here, because there’s no getting away from how remarkably accomplished and luxuriant these songs are, and anything less than the very best instruments and players would be a crime against creativity. From piano to percussion, the music wraps itself in a loving embrace around lyrics that teem with a newfound love of life. With the tableaux vivants set out in crystal and gleaming precious metals, Nina’s vocals are Goldmine‘s gorgeous centrepiece, floral almost in their beauty and fragility, drawing ear and eye to a single focal point that listens, imagines and immerses the soul, creating such a profound impression as to make this listener a certain habitué. This is a love child borne of musical passions, and it’s becoming rarer to hear married duos perform on this kind of humbly touching level that conveys adoration and respect with honesty so clear, the threat of sappiness dissolves in high-proof spirit solution. It lends extra credence to notions of true love, and waiting for the right one, both in romantic terms and potential to create a definitive piece of art that always seemed to be hiding just out of sight.
To choose my favourite songs is a hard task due to the fact that the album flows so well as a single body of work and its consistency was rarely broken in a way that I would check particular tracks – they all stand out. Owing to the bright welcome of Nina’s voice and a chorus that’s perfect in every way – a rare curio these days – the lush embellishment of trumpet and the communal rhythm so like handclaps, opening number The World deserves to be heard all over this sweet planet of ours: “we’ve got everything we need” indeed. Dancing Suns and the soaring string swells of Black Eaglework for me in a big way, but on the endless hunt for words to relate to, Goldmine speaks for itself: “I’m a winner, I’m a winner in my mind“. This is undoubtedly one of the best albums I’ll hear this year, and a lifelong keeper.