Extra Golden

Thank You Very Quickly

(Thrill Jockey; 2009)

By Conrad Amenta | 11 March 2009

Quite possibly cosmopolitanism’s hard luck kids, Extra Golden have overcome death in the band, border troubles, political tumult, and the tenant World Music perception issues that come with falling between a Western doctoral student’s pet project and a legitimate cross-cultural undertaking. They’ve somehow released yet another record of puzzlingly joyous polyrhythmic jam music, their infectiously DIY take on what is sometimes too polished to betray the catharsis and struggle inherent to life as a niche musician. To point out that they’ve found the indie wheelhouse, a home on Thrill Jockey, performed at the Pitchfork Festival, and seem to be pitching stones at the notion of permanency, suggests some semblance of justice in the world.

The idea that I come back to again and again is “tight quarters = tight grooves,” a sort of optimistic manifesto in their press package that glosses over the rough recording conditions: “set up in the third floor hallway / laundry room of guitarist Ian Eagleson’s parents’ house.” That view askance of cynicism is one that permeates, carried over as if on the tail-end of one of Hera Ma Nono‘s (2007) great rollicking drum rolls, which tumbled across the expanse of the kit.

Clocking in with around thirty five minutes of largely instrumental music, one’s tempted to cast Thank You Very Quickly as a one-off, but both the band’s communicable enthusiasm and obvious technical skill pull it off. Much more jammy than previous efforts, it’s as if the band stretched out its legs and let run its first five tracks; only the titular effort, still almost seven minutes long, is what one might grasp at calling reigned-in.

The dance floor “Gimakiny Akia” is both the album’s best track and its exegesis, folding cyclical crescendos over a drumbeat that peppers and drives the mix. The band is right to emphasize the synthesis of previous two albums’ “thesis and antithesis”: the performance of “Gimakiny Akia” is confident stuff, no longer concerned with a tentative outlining of experimental parameters. “Piny Yore Yore” and the unfortunately titled “Fantasies of the Orient” push with the same momentum for a solid twenty minutes, making what is an undeniably short record also feel satisfying urgent.

The band’s also right to continually emphasize that the palatable joy in this music comes despite considerable hardship, both in the sense of overcoming geographical obstacles to utilitarian songwriting and in the sense of personal adversity. That the music is so positive is both a means and an end—remarkable and necessary for having been created under circumstances less than imaginable in the pretext of Western bands’ existential dilemmas.

:: myspace.com/extragolden