Seeing Gold Class play at Spunk Records office above the Finbox Café in Thirroul was something of a revelation over two years ago.
The band had not yet released a thing, but all the elements for something great were already locked in: a tight, tense, leaning-forward sound aimed around singer Adam Curley’s arch, angry-withheld-extravagant-internal presence. Standing a metre away from him you could could almost mistake him for someone shy.
The sound and attitude was Joy Division meets The Smiths, and Gold Class have only stepped that classic marriage up a few notches since then. Both It’s You (2015) and their new album Drum (on Barely Dressed Records, and co-produced by The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard) go off like a bomb of pride in your chest.
But it’s live where the band really prove themselves – and any veer into monotone dramas on record transforms into pure muscular romantic thrills.
Curley has that centred, draw-you-in power you get from great front men, and seems to get stronger with the music as a night wears on. He’s written for The Saturday Paper about queer lit, his failed relationship and the influence of James Baldwin on his lyrics for Drum; he’s spoken of wanting this new album to be “defiant and full of skin and trouble and spit and love”.
What you get is the exciting, even urgent sound of a band trying to break free of something in the dark behind them, a kind of protest music about the nature of love.
Gold Class play with the equally mighty Mere Women at the Oxford Arts Factory, 8pm Saturday 18 November. Tickets here: www.moshtix.com.au