The Golden Animals, consisting of Tommy Eisner on guitar and vocals and Linda Beecroft on drums and vocals, do not write songs as much as they channel them.
The duo’s latest recording, Free Your Mind and Win a Pony, conjures aural flashbacks of both early Grateful Dead and recent White Stripes, but itís the Doors who haunt this album. When Eisner’s rumbling voice sings “Ain’t the world unfriendly when youíre out on your own?” it’s eerily reminiscent of “People Are Strange.”
Many tracks have a bluesy feel but veer off into psychedelia. Motion is the album’s major theme, as is evident in titles like “Turn You Around,” “Ride Easy” and “I Want You to Come.” In opener “The Steady Roller,” insistent, train-like drums propel the song forward while Eisner intones about haunted train cars and castle mazes. By the final cut, “Darkness & Light,” the duo gives full rein to its psychedelic impulses, throwing in backward masking and tambourine shaking over a woozy, oscillating background hum.
According to their record companyís Web site, Eisner and Beecroft met in Brooklyn and recorded the EP Do the Roar in 2006 before departing Gotham for the Southern California desert. “I’ll take you in my car, girl / I’ll ride you ëround the whole world,” Eisner boasts in fuzzed out stomper, “My, My, My,” but even a pony will help you “leave behind whatís lost and lonely” in “Try on Me.”
Slide guitar crops up frequently, such as in “Follow Me Down,” where the smeared notes contrast with Eisnerís quivering bass, but mostly sounds reminiscent of the Doorsí “Moonlight Drive.”
At the moment, the Golden Animals appear to be in thrall to Jim Morrison’s undeniable charisma. Perhaps in the future the duo will venture further, exploring the Doorsí forays into Kurt Weill, flamenco guitar and Latin rhythms.