Artist : Savath & Savalas
Album : Golden Pollen (2nd Domestic LP)
Release : 06.19.07
Year Founded : 1998
Label Name : Anti
Catalog # : 86839
Packaging Type : Single-Disc Jewel Case
Members : Guillermo Scott Herren
Runtime : 52:29
Area Tour Dates : 09.30.07 @ Paradise, Boston
Sound Season : Summer
iTunes Worthy Tracks : Estrella de Dos Caras, Olhas, Faltamos Palabras, Era Tu
Sounds Like : Air Premiers Symptomes
Rating : B
OK, there are some prerequisites to listening to and liking Savath & Savalas's Golden Pollen. Number one: You must like The Beach Boys, especially Smile. Number two: You must be traveling to an exotic destination — preferably a tropical island, but, really, any island would work. Number three: You must be on some sort of downers.
Knowing nothing about the band, you may picture a bronzed, dark-haired, bikini- and speedo-clad duo — not married, but certainly lovers — who don't look at eachother, but writhe with an insouciant sexual anticipation. But, alas, Savath & Savalas is actually just Guillermo Scott Herren, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and Georgian (yes, Georgian). And he uses this project to create lush, exotic, meditative flickerings of songs.
His breathy, layered vocals swirl around acoustic guitars, sensual bass, fluttery flutes, subdued drums and skittish electronics. There are several guest musicians (Jose Gonzales, Tyondai Braxton, Danny Bensi, Laurence Pike, Mia Doi Todd, plus producer John McEntire) scattered throughout the album, but you would never know it by just listening.
Herren's (mostly known for his work as Prefuse 73, but my favorite artistic incarnation of his is as Piano Overlord) previous album under this moniker, Apropa't, was like the Spanish answer to Air. This album has a similar bent, but it also incorporates some psychedelic leanings.
Most of the best moments come in the middle of the album, which is even more of a barrier to entry. It's like Golden Pollen is Herren's island, and, as much as he wants to share the beauty with others, he also doesn't want just any schmuck showing up and mucking the place up as tourists — particularly American ones — are wont to do.
The point is, you really have to be in the mood for something like this, and even then, it might become too firm in its insistence that you just relax. Eventually you get around to thinking, 'Jesus, I may just lie here and die in this hammock.'