Stash Records (label)
07 September 2018 (released)
12 September 2018
By now, most of us aren't too thrown off by an artist stepping aside from their band and completely swapping genres for a side project. The now classic trope of hardcore/metal singer cutting heartfelt acoustic album doesn't make us bat an eyelash anymore. It's now old hat when a rock vocalist decides that as well as singing on top of four guitar chords and a drummer, he can also sing on top of four synth chords and a drum machine. The old genre battle lines have blurred almost into non-existence. However, to hear that the frontman of a glam-tinged, four on the floor rock n roll band named Psychocide has a jazzy, jaunty side project is still jarring. It's a sharp turn to make. Nevertheless, this is what Montreal's Goldwyn Thandrayen has done with his latest release from The Goldwyn Experiment, Avenue B. The title refers to his one time home on New York's Lower East Side, though it also encompasses his experiences through his times in Mauritius, Glasgow, San Diego, and Montreal.
As if to say “...and now for something completely different”, Thandrayan kicks off his experiment with 'Prologue' a piano-heavy opener which would play out like an nineteenth century concerto if not for the swaying and cresting drum kit work of Kenny Grohowski which has among other things, strong elements of Danny Carey's hard rock stylings.
The single lead 'Sad Boy Summer' leads off with an arena-rocking, soaring lead but nimbly tucks in for a slick and subtle cosmopolitan jazzy hip-hop verse with guests Tyler Guest and Tommy Atomic DiRocco spittin' chill rhymes. The fusion makes little sense on paper but Goldwyn makes it work with some impressive finessing turning it into a curious crossover hit.
'Fast Response' has Thandrayen dancing over a nimble, scurrying piano that leads to expansive choruses. The ease at which he switches gears, as well as the theatricality of his delivery, brings to mind fellow genre-hopper Mike Patton. The piano/drum duet 'Interlude' reminds us that one foot is very much planted in the elegant. On the other hand, the follow-up 'Whale Jail' could have just as easily been hatched from the demented mind on Dean Ween with a tropical surfy, tongue-in-cheek refrain.
Avenue B has enough twists and turns to keep you from nailing it down to a particular style. Thandrayen has enough of a command of several genres that he can follow his gut and produce whatever kind of tune it takes to convey a certain idea. The record is enigmatic, unpredictable and a unique fusion that hasn't been done quite like this before.