Song: Gold Baby – Versailles review

I feel a strange sense of grief listening to Gold Baby’s new single. Our last interaction was when I hosted them for a show up back in February, here in Manchester. I long for the innocence in the room that night; the ignorance of what was to come – even that nervous energy of speaking to strangers for the first time in the flesh. The North London band left that evening, excited to go and record their debut EP before the ensuing pandemic dashed any such hopes. Instead, we have a single, Versailles; recorded remotely from each of the band members’ separate living spaces. Ironically, it’s about distance. The moment you notice a chasm has formed in your romantic relationship, but it’s too late to bridge the gap.

Having previously shown their indie-pop stripes, this is their most stripped-back song yet; a vulnerable ballad fit for a baby’s bedside. The electric guitar is crystalline and weightless, picked sparingly, while Sian Alex’s vocal is hushed and soothing. The band never overawe, instead, just providing a rink for her to skate gracefully on. Alex’s emotional headspace is the focus and, as a result, there are few peaks and troughs; Alex’s words alone are enough to arrest, and any embellishment would douse their flames. Alex has let her guard down here, no longer shrouded by pop melodies and firecracker-like riffs, she’s at her most vulnerable. And while distance may have been its focus, Versailles will connect people with Alex more than ever before.

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