GoldRust – S/T

Featuring members of the Italian band Satellite Inn (which proudly relishes its status as likely the only Italian band playing American-style alt-country and claims to be the only such band on an American label), GoldRust is more about American rock ‘n roll. Drawing more comparisons to Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Creedence Clearwater Revival than Wilco or Whiskeytown, GoldRust plays a sort of roots rock as good if not better than your typical American band. In fact, if you heard these guys play at a bar in your home town, you’d be hard pressed to know they’re from Forli, Italy.
That’s because singers Alex Celli and Stiv Cantarelli sing in English that honestly sounds like the guys grew up in the American South (and apparently their refusal to sing in Italian made the band virtual outcasts in their own home). It helps that they draw their influences from American rock and roll, breaking out guitar solos, playing big drum beats, and even adding harmonica. And the whole thing was recorded live, with only the vocals and harmonica requiring overdubs. So surely if this band was playing your local bar, you would not be disappointed.
The album opens with one of the most purely rocking songs here, “Hey Mister, What’s the Matter Now?,” an enjoyable enough affair but really just an introduction. “Top of the World,” with its big verses and more subtle choruses is better, and by “Overloaded,” you’re won over, as the band does its best Neil Young rocker – big guitars, big drums, strong and surprisingly pretty vocals. The only clunker here is “Bus Stop Girl,” which is too “big rock” and superficial for the band’s own good.
“Red Line” is a rollicking country-infused rocker, head-bobbing and fun, and the blazing guitars and slightly distorted vocals on “These Days” make it the best pure rocker on the album. The soft and plaintive “Claire” is a nice change of pace, and “Before the Start” has a nice After the Goldrush sound to it. The closer, “Small Building,” is another nice mix of loud guitars and slower pace, and the vocals here are near perfect. (Oddly enough, the heavier hidden track at the end (which may be a cover, but I can’t think of what it is) reminds me of Dinosaur Jr., proving there’s little difference between Dinosaur Jr. and classic rock ‘n roll.)
So because the members of GoldRust holds their influences so close to their hearts, you’re not going to hear anything especially new on their debut album. In fact, it’s been done for not just years but decades. But to say they draw from the best period of American rock is an understatement, and to say they do it well would be as well. These guys are talented and show an unrelenting desire to rock. All the more power to them.