Golden Dawn Arkestra – Children of the Sun (2018)

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Add equal parts Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, ’60s psychedelia, and Talking Heads’ Remain in Light-era poly-rhythmic Afrobeat, sprinkle a dash of ’70s disco with a chaser of Flaming Lips on-stage spectacle fun, then mix it one tall glass and you have the original sound of the Golden Dawn Arkestra. This is an intoxicating brew that’s best taken in doses long and slow, with a steady infectious beat.

Of course, it’s tough to capture a unique band like this in a recording studio, since they really come alive in a live concert setting. Golden Dawn Arkestra is visually and audibly captivating in equal measure. All of their on-stage costumes and the exotic light show really add to the atmosphere. Which brings us to Children of the Sun, Golden Dawn Arkestra’s second full-length album. Apparently in the works since 2017, it features a joyous upbeat title track that rises to even greater heights when done live in concert, inspiring audiences to dance continuously. This intoxicating tune could become the Golden Dawn Arkestra’s theme song, if it really takes off in popularity.

The only bands which share this sense of on-stage spectacle, in spirit if not musically, would have to be the Flaming Lips and the Polyphonic Spree. However, these Sun Ra disciples have taken their original inspirations and really expanded upon it, making each concert an eventful party.

“Wings of Ra,” the mystically exotic first music video and single from Children of the Sun, demonstrates this, while their psychedelic-rock influences come well into the forefront. The lively and catchy “Lovely Day” fans a samba and Fela Kuti vibe, only in outer space. Their seductive “The Ocean” has an Earth Wind and Fire slow jam feel – through, again, only if it’s from another plant – while “Cosmic Dancer” exhibits an upbeat Cerrone / Latin disco mixed vibe.

Soothing Middle Eastern sounds flow into the melody of “No One Like You.” Golden Dawn Arkestra’s mellow, mysterious “The Answer” is not blowing in the wind, but nevertheless casts a mellow spell over the listener. There’s some pretty darn good whistling performed in this tune, too. “Lovely Day” comes on as an intoxicating modern day choral samba. There are a couple of instrumental interludes (the spacey and wonderfully weird “Ra-Horakhty,” the echoey “Tropicalismo”) and they only add to the album’s flow and overall mood.

If you want to hear something different musically for change, you should listen to the Golden Dawn Arkestra.


Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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