Chicago-based Gretta Rochelle and Jack Armondo are the goth overlords behind experimental outfit, My Gold Mask. With a sound dauntlessly steeped in a fantastical nightmare much like The Brothers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel or Jim Henson’s Mirror Mask, My Gold Mask premieres their new album, Anxious Utopia via Moon Sounds Records. Produced and mixed by metal producer Sanford Parker (Pelican, Zoroaster) and Balthazar de Ley (Iron & Wine, Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s) over a period of two years in and out of the Chicago area, Anxious Utopia refers to MGM’s most energetic, upbeat tracks to date. Given the delicate nature of singer/self-taught drummer Rochelle’s emotional state, the title of the new LP suggests a maturing band that has come to terms with the anxiety yet cathartic bliss that often accompanies creative enlightenment. Spokesperson, guitarist/vocalist Jack Armondo has graciously played diplomat for the band assuring interested parties that the momentum of MGM has not been lost. Third member, drummer James Andrew deputized for his electronic ear, seems to be the perfect go-between electronic antidote for a band so markedly defined by two of its musically headstrong leaders.
The focal point to her own fairytale, Gretta Rochelle’s (what has been deemed) “primal physicality” embodies a tribal convalescence. Her chipper vocals channel the crisp, ethereal pop of acts like Grimes, Zambri, Alex Winston, and Cyndi Lauper.
The first awarded single goes to “Battles” with its a party-girl hook, “break my hands, losing battles, giving up the devil I know”, loosley reminiscent of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”. In the music video, Rochelle suspends us with voyeuristic goggles whilst seducing us, not with overplayed, overt sexuality but with an arresting vulnerability.
As one of her power anthems of a cleansing origin, “Connect” tickles an 80s aerobicise era with the modernity and edge of Haim. The momentous lyrics “I know we want it, we want it, we want it yeah” utilizes a syncopated call-and-response with cavernous reverb and synth mastering by Balthazar de Ley.
*Guest synth by Toph McNeil