Golden Void – Berkana

Album Review by Duncan Harman | 03 Sep 2015
  • Golden Void – Berkana
Album title: Berkana
Artist: Golden Void
Label: Thrill Jockey
Release date: 18 Sep

How big are your riffs? In the case of Bay Area quartet Golden Void, the answer is delivered without apology; all seven tracks comprising Berkana hark back to a time when song wasn’t song unless hung from meaty hooks in a stoner rock butcher’s shop. The guitars are fleshy, the bass a buzz of gravel, Isiah Mitchell’s vocals full of earnest thrust.

Whereas little is scrimped when it comes to mood or musical detail, there’s a seam of flaccidity underpinning events, both Burbank’s Dream and Astral Plane (with its soporific lyrics) struggling under the weight of those hefty riffs.

Events take a smoother ride elsewhere, the strung-out California-isms of I’ve Been Down and the sunset vibes of finale Storm and Feather both suggesting a nuanced record may dwell beneath the bluster, unafraid to explore measured, psychedelic fringes. Yet even here there’s a propensity to reach for hackneyed melodic statement from time to time; it’s rock that curiously feels out of shape.