TRACK REVIEW: Gold Complex - Homegirl



Gold Complex







The track, Homegirl, is available via:


Toronto, Canada




8th February, 2019


THE way I am doing things with reviews now...


is that I am focusing on one popular/well-known artist to start with at the weekend and then looking at someone new the next time around, on Sunday. The reason I am doing that is because, to be truthful, there is not a lot of distinction between the requests I get. I get ones like this that are distinct and give me new angles to explore but too many are very samey and there is nothing much to be said. Having to repeat myself every week can get very boring and frustrating so I find it is easier if I go after a bigger artist who I know will provide me with some fresh aspects. Today, as I look around, I get to look at Gold Complex. To be fair, I will be repeating myself a bit with regards some of the topics raised but they have some elements that are different from everything else I have featured lately. I will talk about recommendations for the band and strengthening their social media core; a bit about Canada and Toronto when it comes to music; fusing different worlds and getting something exceptional at the end; vocal harmony groups and larger acts – I will end by looking at Gold Complex and where they might head. I have featured the band before – back in 2016 – but can’t recall what I said and whether it was an interview or not. It was a long time ago so I am not being too harsh on myself but there has been quite a bit of time since then for the guys to build and put new stuff into the world. They have been very busy and developing their sound as they go. I think they are in a really strong position right now and they will only continue to grow bigger and more confident. The guys have a great sound and sensation and they are doing their very best to promote that and ensure they keep the material coming – and that it is of a very good quality.


I think they could definitely have a few more shots out there. I say this with every act – or most of them – but there is this scope for visual expansion. Gold Complex is an octet and, as such, they have various different angles they can take regarding photos. If they want to do all group shots then that is cool but they can split into smaller groups and try some concepts. I think they have some very good photos out there but a few extra ones on their pages – with different concepts – would be great. The reason I say this is because, when you have groups, they tend to do very similar photos and it can be a bit samey. The boys have a great bond so having some individual shots or some different concepts would be good. They are popular in Canada but I think there is a big market waiting for them in the U.K. Maybe it is hard to get the music heard here unless there are regular performances but hitting up the U.K.’s best stations and putting their music this way would get new fans their way. I know they have fans in the U.K. but I think there are a lot of new ears waiting to discover them. If they can get some radio stations here to play their music then they can get some gigs here and I think there would be big demand. Maybe they have a bit of a base here but there is a big opportunity here. I will move on to a new subject but I know Gold Complex take good care of their social media and always trying to get their music to fresh faces. I am not surprised they have such an interesting sound because, when I think about invention and originality, I am taken back to Canada. It has been a while since I ventured there and got to review a great Canadian act. Toronto, especially, is an area that always seems to produce results.


Most of my recent investigations have concerned U.K. and U.S. artists so I am glad I get to go back to Canada and have another look. Most of my Canadian-based reviews seem to focus on Toronto but I have looked at Montréal and Quebec. I think many of us overlook Canada when it comes to music and assume it will be inferior compared to America. I think there are vast differences between the nations. There seems to be more commercial pressure in the U.S. and fewer underground artists taking risks. That might sound incorrect but I think there is more boldness and bravery when it comes to Canadian music. Canada does have its mainstream and Pop core cut I think its new artists are fusing sounds more and providing something fresher and more exciting. Toronto has produced great bands such as Broken Social Scene and Crystal Castles and there are no signs the city is slowing down at all. When I interview people from Toronto, they always tell me there is a friendliness and sense of community that musicians are drawn to. There are great venues to be found and plenty of opportunities for artists to see different acts and get inspired. Having a core and solid live scene means local artists can cut their teeth and get that recognition. From there, they have the chance to move up and attract ears from other parts of Canada. Many Toronto natives are being retained and feeling no need to live anywhere else. Maybe it is the community and togetherness that keeps musicians where they are. I think it is the combination of history, great live venues and eclectic music that makes it such a fantastic place to be. As more people are looking away from London and seeking out other cities to inhabit, I think Toronto is a possibility for many – if you do not mind especially chilly winters! I do think Canada, as a whole, gets overlooked and has to fight too hard for focus.


Maybe that will change in time but, if you look at cities like Toronto, there is ample gold. I have not been there myself but I know there is a hugely eclectic scene forming. Canadian acts, unlike some other big nations, are still very keen on older technologies like cassettes – with many artists releasing music on this format and keeping it alive. What I do find (regarding Canada) is that there is this genuine sense of ambition and dare that means the music is rarely boring and formulaic. Toronto is at the forefront of this inventive streak but Canada is definitely a nation to watch! I am not sure why this is but Canadian artists are bolder regarding splicing sounds and adding new ingredients to the pot. Look at previous Gold Complex songs like Driver – the song I was going to review but, as time has passed, I felt it better to review their newest track – and you can hear it is not like anything else really. This is not unusual at all: Canadian artists are known for their skill and intelligence when it comes to original expressions. Sure, there are some mainstream and Pop-heavy acts that do not stray far from the norm but I think Canada boasts so many interesting and curious souls. It does make me wonder whether there is a channel whereby journalists in the U.K. and U.S. can connect easily. I think we tend to concentrate too much on the U.S. and U.K. and Canada does not get as much of a look in. I love the way Canadian artists work and think the rest of the world needs to take notice! I shall move on and talk about something else but do some research and see what tremendous diversity there is in the country. Canada, I feel, is right at the forefront and should be respected accordingly. Let’s think about Gold Complex and how they approach their music; mixing together sounds and ideas that create this harmonious and evocative whole.

Every one of the songs from Gold Complex has a sense of funk and drive. You always get energy and a degree of freedom that gets you moving and makes you smile. Even when the guys are thinking about something more emotional and personal, that does not mean the music has to suffer. That is what I am talking about when it comes to their music: even when they are getting serious, they like to have fun and create something quite alluring. In terms of their music, you get this horn parts and blasts of sound; you have the harmonies that run riot and an immense amount of power. Gold Complex mix genres but, largely, one experiences a bit of Funk, Soul and R&B. Maybe there is some Pop in the mixture but I think Gold Complex are stronger than that. They have been seen, by some, as similar to Red Hot Chili Peppers in the way they melt these genres and the energy they project. Think about harmony-rich bands of the past like All-4-One and Boyz II Men and it has been a long time since we have seen anything like that. Whilst Gold Complex are slightly different to those American bands, the vocal strengths are very similar. I was thinking about larger bands and why they do not really exist right now. Bands as a whole are becoming less popular so the days of having these larger bands must seem strange. I do remember, back in the 1980s and 1990s, enjoying the all-male/all-female crews who could have so many members and had so much vocal firepower at their disposal. I would like to see this come back because, when you think of bands, the voice is not top of the agenda. In fact, when it comes to the sounds being produced, there are still more Rock and Alternative bands around than anything else. Gold Complex intrigue me because they have this tight bond but they can go in any direction they please.


I love what they are throwing out right now. It is so different to anything else and it is the way they can splice genres together that gives them such a fulsome and rich blend. Maybe I am being nostalgic but I loved the days of Boyz II Men and the fact bands did not necessarily need to focus on instruments to elicit response. I hope Gold Complex keep playing together in the way they are because there are few groups like them right now. It makes me wonder how the eight members of Gold Complex got together and started life. It is interesting to envisage how eight guys all started recording and when they realised they sounded great together. There is a danger, when it comes to male bands like this, they can descend into cheese territory and be a bit like a boyband. I have nothing against that type of group but it is not something I am interested in. Gold Complex are more like the respected and quality groups you had decades ago that could combine this many bodies and not seem unwieldy at all. Have a listen to the vocals on display when Gold Complex get going. Look at the genres they put together and how they sound. It is hard to compare them with anyone else and think of any like-minded groups. There must be others out there but is rare to see an eight-piece group playing and making music like this. I think, in time, there will be more bands like Gold Complex coming along. Think about the effect the vocals have and what the music does to you. This inspiring and colourful blend definitely makes you feel better and there is that clash of the modern and classic. One gets touches of the older-days male groups but you get something very much of this time. It is probably worth moving on and thinking about the latest track from Gold Complex, Homegirl. It is another exceptional and assured cut from the Canadian troupe.


Homegirl sort of comes up in two different stages. To start, we have this slightly Jazz-like calm that provides gentle percussive elements. There is this kind of sensual and calming mood that draws the listener in and gives you a distinct viewpoint. There is romance to be found and this rather calming aura. I was imagining a passionate scene or a quiet room. They may sound unconnected but one definitely gets a feeling of relax and release, even though the opening moments are quite calm and undramatic. Then there is a kick as the percussion steps up and the horns come through. It is not an explosion but more of a rousing little rise that takes the song up a gear and changes your mindset. I do like the way the introduction sort of builds and the fact you cannot really predict where it might head next. Underpinning the song is this sophisticated and smooth composition that jigs and jumps. One feels a definite energy and kick but the focus is on a sexiness and caramel smooth. It is a gorgeous sound and one that, to me, fuses Jazz and R&B. I like the horns and the way they add to the mood. When the hero comes to the microphone, he talks about this new girl being interesting and bold. She is not like anyone he has met before and, within a few weeks of their courtship, she is calling him ‘baby’. The vocal has a soulful and passionate tone and it is a great accompaniment to the composition. In many ways, there is this fusion of the older R&B groups and something modern-day. The track never gets into the modern boyband situation where the lyrics are quite cliché and the song holds little weight. Instead, the chorus has this accessible nature and sound but one definitely gets vibes of the better days – when you had these vocal groups that produced luscious and scintillating songs.


The chorus talks about this new girl sort of being converted. Maybe the lovers are tentative at first but, soon enough, they are fused and a lot closer. The hero wants her to be his homegirl and hang with him. Maybe there has been past relationships that have not worked out too well but here, it seems, there is more hope. I feel this girl is someone who naturally clicks with the hero and there is this excitement. The chorus flecks and sparks with a serious bounce. You find yourself nodding along to its alacrity and catchiness. Although I have mentioned other sounds and eras, I do not think it is easy to compare Gold Complex with anyone else. There is almost a Michael Jackson-like feel (his Off the Wall period) to the song that is pleasing. I have been looking around for songs that have that 1980s Pop and Soul but have modern production values. Gold Complex are always great when it comes to big choruses and this is no different. I do love the constant sense of movement and delight that the song offers. I am thinking about the heroine and wondering what she looks like. The entire group add their elements and create this fulsome and vibrant mood. One might say an eight-piece band would struggle to remain focused and provide any real depth. How many people will sing and how many will be playing instruments? In the case of this track, there is a focused lead vocal but some great backing; the composition allows new light and elements to come in and Homegirl is this nuanced and fascinating song. The lead vocal looks at this girl and how chilled she is. There is no need for any sort of probation period and seeing how things go. It seems, right away, she is on the same level and someone that is perfect. The guys are paying testament to her and I wonder whether this woman is less a romantic fixture or someone who is just hanging with the guys.  Maybe, strangely, there is a bit of a Fall Out Boy tone in the lead vocal but I love the different tones and flavours the group provide.


I love the track and how it keeps on stepping and jumping. There are not many songs that have a constant energy and make you feel a lot better. The horns are great and they give this idea of vibing and chemistry. If the foreground and vocal suggests something more Pop-based, the composition and lyrics hint at R&B and Rock. It is a nice blend and concoction that rewards repeated listens. I have heard the song a few times and get something new from each experience. The chorus remains this huge and catchy thing but I was thinking about the central figure and who she is. On one level, I think there is a slight romantic yearning and desire. She seems to be pretty cool and someone that is naturally in step with the guys/hero. On the other hand, she seems like a really interesting person that Gold Complex feel is similar to them. Many will have their own interpretation of what the song is about but few can resist the intensity and pleasure of the mood. I am keen to experience music that makes me feel better and, in the modern scene, that is becoming harder. Homegirl is a fantastic song that bodes well for the album. I wonder where it will sit in the pack and whether many of the other songs will have the same sort of flair. I do hope so and, knowing Gold Complex’s work, they are unlikely to put too many piano ballads in there! If you have not heard Gold Complex before then this is a great song to begin with. It is easy to appreciate but there is so much going on that will intrigue. I do wonder who the lead figure is and whether she is based on someone real. It appears there are some deep feelings going on and this heroine seems too good to be true. Homegirl is an original spin and take on romance and friendship. It is another fantastic offering from Gold Complex – a group that continues to evolve and strengthen with everything they do. The chorus has that classic sense of giddiness and memorability and I am a big fan of songs that work this way. Because of that, you will want to return and experience that joy over and over. I shall end the review section here but I have been blown away by the energy and instant appeal of Homegirl. It is an incredible cut and makes great use of all the members of Gold Complex. There are few groups that can create such a sensation and feel but Gold Complex are assured and astonishing in everything they do. Homegirl is a perfect song to bring the heat and sun; brilliantly smooth and romantic or, if you just need to dance and unwind, then this is the track for you! I have very high hopes for the Canadian group and feel they are a lot stronger than most of their peers right now...


Gold Complex are going to be pretty busy in the coming months. They have the new single out and, on 22nd February, they release their debut album, New Soul. The guys released an E.P. back in 2015 and, since then, have unveiled a couple of singles. In fact, the group were a little quiet between 2015 and 2018 and I did wonder whether they would release anything else. Perhaps they needed more time to get the songs right but it is a relief Gold Complex have come back and they have been working on that album. There is a lot of pressure for artists to release music all of the time and remain visible. I know, given the complexities and layers you hear on a Gold Complex song, there needs to be focus and patience. They are naturally harmonised and bonded but one does not experience something simple and throwaway with Gold Complex. Instead, there is this music that gets into the brain and makes all the senses tingle. The vocals are exceptional but the compositions are equally fabulous. It takes a while to make sure that is right so one can forgive a slight gap between releases. Keep an eye on the social media channels of Gold Complex and make sure you snap up their debut record. The group have been around a while now and have made a name for themselves in Canada. There is still a long way to go and new areas to conquer. I do wonder whether they will get to the U.K. and we will hear them over here. Given the fact they are turning heads in Canada, it cannot be that long until we get to see them over here. I am not sure what their plans are regarding an international tour but they might be focusing on Canada at the moment. That would be understandable but, if they do get the chance to travel, there are people and venues over here that would be very interested.


I will end the review very soon but I wanted to recommend people check out Gold Complex. It has been a while since I’ve been able to talk about a new act in a different way. I get a lot of similar requests and it can be tricky finding fresh words to say – and the sounds do not always stay in the mind. The band has those incredible vocals and harmonies but I do love the fact they switch between R&B, Rock and Pop. Some might say they have a commercial sound but that would suggest they are mainstream and chart-bound. I think Gold Complex are stronger than that and they remind me more of the classic R&B bands of the 1990s. However you view them, it is clear this year will be a successful one for the group. I intimated they might want to get a few more photos online. I think they have a great chemistry and visual side. It would be good to see that displayed more perhaps. If you have not experienced Gold Complex then Homegirl is a good place to start. It is one of their strongest offerings yet and shows, with every release, they are strengthening and discovering new levels. I wonder how the band will grow and where they head next. There will be Canadian dates and demands and I am sure there will be requests from the U.S. too. I shall not get too ahead off myself but it would be good to think Gold Complex will come over this way. There are so many groups out there and there is definitely something different about Gold Complex. I love the sounds they put together and the effect their music has. Let me end things here but I am pleased Gold Complex have new music out and I look forward to seeing where they go now. I am always excited when a genuinely inventive and original proposition comes my way and I just know the Canadian eight-piece will go a very long way. Congratulations to the guys on a brilliant single and the best of luck for the future. The New Soul L.P. will do great business and see their stock rise. If you get a chance to see the group live and up-close, make sure you do. That is likely to be an experience...

FEW people will forget.


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