Rose Gold is the debut album by Calgary band Squanto. Together, Bobby Henderson (vocals, guitar, and bass), Wil Moralda (keys), Derick Lodovica (drums), Duncan McCartney (saxophone), along with Kat Westermann, Jolene Marie, and Connor Mead (backing vocals), contrive an album flooded with undertones of funk, jazz, disco, synthpop, and occasionally folk-rock. Although the album is quite multi-faceted, the crux of Rose Gold’s charm lies in its intricate and diverse instrumentals.
The opening track, “Act Your Age” melds the carefree strumming of ‘70s folk-rock with the spry synths and keys of early ‘80s synthpop. Despite the overt folk-rock and synthpop influence on this track (and Rose Gold as a whole), Squanto’s blending of distinct genres and Henderson’s youthful yet gravelly vocals manage to strike a contemporary sound. The height of Squanto’s experimentation is found on “Comin’ Down,” where the band concocts its most elaborate instrumental. The track commences with a sprightly jazz-pop tune; however, halfway through the piece the saxophone pierces through and ushers in a thick jazz melody. McCartney’s saxophone is reminiscent of a much tamer and more primitive version of Dick Parry’s magnetic saxophone on The Dark Side of the Moon (particularly “Us and Them”).
Compared to the rest of the album, the track “Jade Green” experiments less with its structure and sound. That being said, Henderson’s raspy vocals coupled with a funky instrumental produce a groovy melody that is memorable in its own right. Album closer “Times A Thief” finds Squanto crafting a gentle tune, evocative of quintessential early ‘70s folk-rock. Though distinct from the rest of Rose Gold, this simple, almost pastoral track delicately draws the album to a close.
Rose Gold is strewn with buoyant melodies containing hints of disco, synthpop, and a dash of folk-rock. On the whole, the album exudes a very youthful feel, which is probably due to its grainy production and lackadaisical style. Nonetheless, the album’s laid-back quality doesn’t deter from Squanto’s embellished instrumentals and makes Rose Gold an ideal listen for a lazy Sunday morning.
– Review by Soraya Mamiche Afara