When you see footage of Melbourne band Gold Class performing live, your eyes are immediately drawn to frontman Adam Curley. Tall, thin and pale, Curley thrusts his hips this way and that, folding his body in half as he shouts in his distinctively theatrical way. There is a trance-like focus to the way the whole band performs. The magnetism of Gold Class’s live show doesn’t always come across on their debut album It’s You, but it is still a strong collection of post-punk influenced rock.
Gold Class’s sound isn’t a huge departure from their most obvious influences – Joy Division, Public Image Ltd., The Smiths, Gang of Four – but the band plays with nuance and restraint, creating an excellent bed for Curley’s strident delivery. The interplay between the rhythm section of drummer Mark Hewitt and bassist Jon Shub, particularly on sparer tracks like the opening “Furlong” and the crawling, ominous “Half Moon Over,” are full of intriguing contrast and texture.
Gold Class exist within a very well established mould, but there are moments on the record that place them at the top with the best post-punk devotees. The enigmatic “Pro Crank,” has a jumping, restless beat and the elegaic “Michael” has a certain melodic rubberiness. Throughout, guitarist Evan James Purdey plays with a loose-fingered style that also serves to add another dimension to the band’s sound and set Gold Class apart from similarly minded bands. The swerving riff on the rumbling “Athena” is perhaps his finest moment on the album.
Certain tracks like “Perverts” and “The Soft Delay” rely too heavily on established stylistic tropes to do anything of particular interest. There are times on the record that the serrated guitars and ever-present moans become tiring and samey. Tracks like these are in the minority, but they put unfortunate strain on the album’s momentum.
Ending the record with the piano ballad “Shingles (Stay a While)” could have seemed contrived, but the soft and tender song actually demonstrates a new side to the band, particularly Curley. There is a gentleness to the song and to Curley's expressive vocals, but it still maintains the same atmosphere (probably thanks to co-producer Simon Grounds) that works so well across the whole record.
It’s You is a frustratingly uneven, but still very likeable album. It is thoughtfully constructed and has some astounding moments, but unfortunately doesn’t follow through on the band’s promise as well as it could have. Undoubtedly, the weakest material here will come alive when performed by the band live. Gold Class still need to find a way to harness the power they possess on-stage and translate it effectively to the studio.