Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Feb. 18, 2011
Historically speaking, Gold Beach either refers to a code name for one of the D-Day landings in France or to a popular vacation spot off the Rogue River in Oregon. Both work in the context of the complicated beauty and cautious optimism of the new project from former Glass Family singer/guitarist Michael Winningham and drummer Tony Daugherty. The band's first album offers an uncanny combination of Grizzly Bear's chamber pop and the more somber moments of Arcade Fire, anchored by the former's breathy, sustained delivery and the latter's sparse, intuitive percussion. While lacking the climactic resolve that helps define those two indie touchstones, past members of Balmorhea; Western Keys; Tacks, the Boy Disaster; and Mineral help Gold Beach find depth and focus in the tension. "I, Testify," in particular, beckons for the La Blogotheque treatment, while the stringed suspense of "Hands of Ether" and slow waltz of "I'm Not Yours" make Habibti a carefully crafted debut.