‘Habibti’ is the first-batch release of Gold Beach’s recordings collection. Titled after an Arabic term for “beloved” this album woos the listener with breezy vocals that whirl around wind-chime instrumentals.
This musical experiment has been developed over the past couple years by singer/ guitarist Michael Winningham and drummer Tony Daugherty. Though the two grew up on the same street in Houston, TX and began writing music together at age fourteen, both have contributed their talents to other bands until a change was called for. “We wanted to see what would happen if we didn’t rely on our comfort zones to create music,” says Winningham.
Using the recording studio for their music writing environment, Winningham and Daugherty patiently sculpted their musical presence and personality. Over 25 songs were recorded in various ways and with various people, but only 11 tracks were kept together to create ‘Habibti’ which includes creative contributions by Jeremy Gomez (bass), Evan Jacobs (synthesizers/ keyboards/ piano), and Henna Chou (cello) among others. This Austin, TX duo plans to perform regionally, most notably at the upcoming Austin City Limits festival, with national tour dates soon to come.
‘Habibti’ opens with a delicate reflective piece involving humility and hope. With moments of ambient instrumentals and experimental vibes Gold Beach sings, “I know I’m Mr. Just-given-up,” but surely, “It’s just a season before you arrive.”
The gently luring tones continue through “Until You,” picking up slightly in “Gold Beach,” and taking on a subtle wash of rose-clenching tango in the dreamy “Hands of Ether.”
“I, Testify” is nearly dreampop with breathy vocals accompanying bell tings and acoustic guitar, yet the prominent bassline works to keep the listener from cloud surfing. Gold Beach is still capable of sending your thoughts a thousand miles away, but in a mysterious rather than ethereal manner. Whether it’s the rhythmic strumming in “I’m Not Yours” or the sustained synth notes in “Everyone I Know” or the lonesome echoes of “Perfect Weights” sung nearly acapella, Gold Beach gives a sense of something unknown lurking in the brush up ahead, a shadow of something just beyond reach. Perhaps that is the pursuit of the beloved.
Gold Beach delights at “Skin of yours around me tight,” and mourns the suedo-relationship signified when “walking through our heads in our sleep.” Punctuated by the musically immersive “Diving Bell,” ‘Habibti’ is a distinctive dedication of love.
September 17 • Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)
October 08 • Frank w/ Ola Podrida and Sounder (Austin, TX)
November 11 • Kessler Theater w/ Seryn (Dallas, TX)
November 18 • The Mohawk (Austin, TX)