REVIEW: Gold Dime - Nerves

Kelly Kirwan

A storm’s brewing. That's the vibe of Andrya Ambro's independent undertaking, Gold Dime, as it bursts onto the scene with swerving guitar lines and scattered arrangements. Her sound is a swirl of fuzzy reverb that could set the score to billowing grey clouds and gusts of wind. Bustling and unpredictable, it's a clash of noises that promise to leave disarray in their wake as the instruments hit their crescendo.

Gold Dime's latest, Nerves, is an album that grips you by the collar of your shirt. Its title brings to mind a sense of coming undone, anxiety finding a tear in the fabric of your temperament and pulling at the thread until it unravels. Ambro's music certainly homes in on that emotion, but it's imbued with a strain of defiance. Her opening track, "Easy," begins with a thumping beat, as metallic whirs of the guitar whip across the melody. Ambro's voice is slightly manipulated—if we were able to trace it on a piece of paper it would have a shaky streak, a pixelated edge.

But it isn't fear or uncertainty that's prompting the slight shake of her timbre. Rather, it's untamed, impassioned, a descendent of Janis Joplin with the eerie, purposeful quiver of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." Clocking in at just over eight minutes, "Easy" is a sprawling song that revs your adrenaline, leaves an ear perked for a crack of thunder as dark skies stretch overhead. Ambro's voice is a chant, a decree, promising over the gradual rampage, "You can't tell me nothing / I just want to do this easy / I've been sitting here for a long time / You can't tell me fine." She distorts the word "easy" throughout the song, stuttering over the syllables and looping back over the consonants, emphasizing that "easy" isn't how it’s going to play out this time around.

Another highlight is her rendition of Anne Clark’s "All We Have To Be Thankful For," with its clinking ambiance and Ambro’s voice sounding as if it were funneled through a megaphone. It’s a noisy number, with dips into distortion that feel as though a sinkhole were ripping through the melody. It’s eerie, with masculine vocals filling the backtrack as if they were mimicking a slap of the bass drum.

Andrya Ambro’s muse struck in her hiatus from Talk Normal, and it led her outside her comfortable position as a drummer (experimenting with guitar to fully understand the songs she was trying to create). And from this solo endeavor she found in herself a new terrain to explore and a tour de force to unleash on Nerves, in just eight tracks.