In Greek mythology, Midas was the king of the Phrygian city Pessinus. Because of his generosity to a drunken satyr, he was given the power to turn all he touched into gold, which proved to be--at best--a mixed blessing. The story was later adapted by Midnight Star in the 1986 hit "Midas Touch," which made it to #7 on the R&B Singles chart and #42 on the US Top 100. (It was the last Midnight Star single to make the top 100, though their next single "Don't Rock the Boat" climbed to the #3 R&B spot in 1988.)
Carrying on it the glorious tradition of Midnight Star and drunken satyrs, Wow & Flutter have seen fit to evoke the story of Midas in the title to their latest album Golden Touch, a collection of Phrygian mode jams, drones and ditties. Wow & Flutter have avoided "difficult-sixth-album-syndrome" by splintering and regrouping repeatedly since the last LP back in 2003. After coalescing as a three-piece hot-shit rock combo, with founder/treasurer Cord Amato on vocals/guitars/organ and stalwart multi-threat Jack Houston taking over drum duties, the lineup found its current form with the addition of bass player Ryan Matheson (following recent tour of duty recording and touring with Kind of Like Spitting), replacing Amy Turner, who left the band following the Fluts' last release, 2006's "Elements" single.
Opening track "Red Face" is a taut-n-fuzzy rock blast which highlights the three-piece's loud-fast-simple side. "Car Crash" opts for a more restrained approach--until all hell breaks loose with the de(con)struction of the titular event. "Solar" follows, with a simple chord pattern repeating for three minutes under a coat of beautiful shimmer. This leads into "Eclipse," because where else are you going to put a track called "Eclipse" if there's also a track called "Solar" on your album? "A Little Help" expands the sonic palette with banjo and glockenspiel and a mass choir.
"Heaven" opens side B; a Morricone-influenced intro complete with trumpet and melodica gives way to a religious screed, which gives way to a drunken klezmer coda. "Flat White" intertwines sparse riffs over click-clack percussion along with Amato's ruminations on betrayal. Synthetic slow-jam "Sugarbush" seduces with snake charmer guitar lines and earworm bass groove. Texture sampler "AM/FM" and drone epic "A Fine Line" close out the album. (As an added incentive to those who prefer their music in 12" format, the band is excited to pioneer the title-track-only-available-as-mp3-download-with-purchase-of-vinyl concept.)
Golden Touch was recorded intermittently over several months by John Askew (Tracker) at Type Foundry in industrial North Portland. Guest musicians include Victor Nash (Point Juncture, WA) on trumpet, Hiram Lucke (Harvey Girls) on sax and Melissa Rodenbeek (Harvey Girls) on backing vocals. Askew mixed it, then Matheson edited out the superfluous bits, then the band almost decided to call the album "Dong," but was talked out of it.