Finally a 21st century folk album that isn’t just a repeated motif.
If Down Like Gold was created on the dream that Folk music could break away from Mumford and Sons finally, then this dream has been fulfilled on Champs’ debut. One word to describe Down Like Gold would be, bipolar. Now that could come across as a negative connotation; not being able to control your emotions, swaying from being happy to deadly depressed in seconds. However for Champs, it’s a good thing to be bipolar, as they can use a misguided front of happiness to set their upsetting tales of woe by the sea even deeper.
The album as a continuum in its set mood, is one of harrowing dysfunctionality. 8MM Desire begins with an approach similar to Daughter with a misleading opening few seconds of possible joy, immediately squandered by lifeless guitars. The only sense of joy found on 8MM is from the choir that seem to be convincing the Champion brothers that life isn’t as bleak as it may seem.
The lead single, My Spirit Is Broken, doesn’t get much happier as the song is supposedly about still be a crumbling mess after a break up, and your ex being fully functional. The timeless tale of the failed romance, it might not be original, but Champs, (just as many others have), succeed in placing their own mark on the tale, with joyous guitar tones over easily moveable drum beats, layered with duplicated vocals from the pair.
Savannah on the other hand, brings Down Like Gold a new essence of life, with seasoned piano strokes entwined with sweet harmonies and the smallest drops of synthesisers tweaking with the song’s traditional appearance, bringing Savannah into the 21st century.
From the ironically bouncy, Pop-tastic joy that is My Spirit Is Broken, to the hopelessly bleak life of 8MM Desire and then to the rejuvenated Savannah; Champs have created a Folk album that anyone could enjoy. Whether played around a fire on a British beach, whilst people wrap up in five blankets, or just at home, with a cup of tea, Down Like Gold is glorious British Folk, that everyone can be proud of.