Sometimes the best records come when a band is broken and beat. While Christian DeRoeck’s Little Gold had rather robust run over the past few years, putting out records on Let’s Pretend, Adagio830, Loud Baby Sounds, and Security Blanket, the feeling between Deroeck and the band was that they’d run their course. It seemed that a breakup was in order, but not all things end because you think they should. Sometimes inspiration just takes its course. Instead of abating, the songs for Wake Up & Die Right swam to the surface, tracing lines around nostalgia for former years — both good and bad — in the songwriter’s life. There’s a weariness to the record, but one that comes with a cocked smile. While the record deals with loss and addictions, it also explores a period of friendship that seems to flourish in the glow of youth.
DeRoeck explores his days in bands past, with the opener netting its title from the Jarvis Taveniere’s studio Rear House where DeRoeck no doubt spent some time with Woods. The bands share a bit of Venn diagram overlap, but on Wake Up & Die Right the sounds skew much further towards the light lap of twang and sunset sighs of slide guitar that swaddle alt-country than the bucolic folk of his former outfit. Along with the trappings of country, DeRoeck brings a soft-heated humor to the record, poking holes in his own ego as he lays bare his soul about rock bottom years. He traces his scars with a gentle jangle, connecting each one with a smile and a sigh. For an album that might never have seen light had the band dissolved, it takes a welcome place high in the ranks of their catalog as one of Little Gold’s best.
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