[sic] Magazine

Little Gold – Weird Freedom

If the name Christian DeRoeck doesn’t ring any bells then you’ve hardly been living under a rock, but you certainly have been missing out. Those that did miss him in the very competent Meneguar line-up likely caught up with his outdoorsy psyche-folk fumblings as part of [sic] favourites Woods .

For those still not on board, DeRoeck is sadly no longer calling said Woodsist house-band home, instead quietly concentrating on his Little Gold project since 2008/9. And, along with starting the Loud Baby Sounds label to release it, the ten breezy tracks that comprise Weird Freedom are the recent fruit of his labour.

So the story goes, DeRoeck fleshed out his ensemble between the debut Little Gold long-player and Weird Freedom so as to avoid an over-reliance on lonely-trail-style songwriting. As it happens, his new compadres of choice, despite their adopted nicknames par excellence ( Brian “Ham” Markham and Pat “Primitive Man” Broderick – together the “sick hick” rhythm section), were no happy-go-lucky souls neither, but they did bring with them smiling concessions to pop nevertheless.

These conceits come to a head in “Sisters & Friends” – a track that drapes an early 90s college-rock vibe over its popular heart in order to protect itself from over-exposure. No less catchy, the obvious single “Mike Swan” thinks nothing of throwing some backing-vocal spirals, not to mention a good dash of brass into the mix.

A little truer to eventual form, the Wooden Wand cover “Oh Dad!” houses a slack fuzziness, as well as relatively punchy interjections of feedback. Shimmering into existence with a mildly psychedelic intro, and putting that same slacker feel to better use, “Half The Time” simply coasts by like kicking back with good friends should.

Cleverly paced (sleepy yet determined), and hitting like some long-distance cross-country dash as a result, the psyche/country inflections of “The Kid’s Got Heart” (a take on the early Woods track of the same name) never wander quite as far into spittoon country as do the light pedal steel flourishes found elsewhere. Bringing it all together, “The Burn In Time” runs with a near-heartland thrust, roughing up the smooth edges provided by its Band Of Horses -like backing harmonies with easy-going slacker pop, imposing psyched guitars and bleary-eyed nods to alt-country.

Yet, the cut that sticks longest in the memory is the tender “Bad Habits” – an acoustic singer-songwriting offering spun out with windblown, electrified psyche. You can take a man out of the Woods, but it would appear that you can’t take the Woods out of the man … and, really, who’d want to?

~Weird Freedom is out now on Loud Baby Sounds .~

Little Gold @ bandcamp