Golden Features comes out on top with long-awaited debut album, ‘SECT’
As the Australian electronic scene continues to be saturated with more and more artists vying for their chance to break through, trying to actually cut through the noise and be heard takes something truly special and unique. It takes a level of self-assurance to figure out your path and maintain that course, and those who see this course through are the ones who really do stand the test of time (no matter how cliched it is to say that). One such artist is GOLDEN FEATURES (aka Tom Stell), and with his debut album, SECT, he has cemented himself and his golden mask as a formidable force of versatility, originality and individuality.
Just four years ago, Golden Features exploded with monster hits ‘Guillotine’ and the Nicole Millar-featuring ‘Tell Me’, and while he could’ve gone the way many Soundcloud producers have gone by blowing up fast but fading away just as quickly, Stell opted for the less-is-more approach. Absence really made the heart grow fonder, as it wasn’t until the following year that he was back to unleash some more bass-heavy madness with ‘Baxter’ and his XXIV EP. Again, he chose to stick with his refined, controlled method of drip-feeding banger after banger, keeping quality over quantity in the forefront of his vision. In 2016, ‘Wolfie’ featuring JULIA STONE was absolutely everywhere, but then it was silent; it wouldn’t be for another two years that we’d hear from Golden Features again with new, original music.
That would come in the form of ‘Falling Out’, a blistering, emotional banger that completely flipped everything we thought we knew about Golden Features on its head. It immediately made an impact, and was a signal that something big was coming. While still keeping his signature affinity for face-melting bass, ‘Falling Out’ represented a grand shift and evolution for Stell as a songwriter and artist, proving his versatility as he channeled new influences like JUSTICE and 00’s electronica but giving them a modern, progressive twist. This was doubled down on with next single, ‘Always’, furthering his broad influences and refining them with his meticulous attention to detail. Speaking of what influenced him, Stell said, “Musically my influences are extremely varied. Everything from post-punk and to QOTSA and AIR. Production wise my love for early Ed Banger is worn on my sleeve. I keep reaching back to that 2007 era when producers weren’t all crabs in a bucket, fighting to counterfeit the latest hit.”
And it shows. Across the ten songs of SECT, Stell’s intention of pushing himself and his creativity is clear, from the meditative spell of the RROMARIN-featuring ‘Woodcut’ to the glitchy drone of ‘Medicate’. Stell went on to explain, “I abandoned a lot of software in favour of hardware as an attempt to limit sound design possibilities, and more importantly I settled on an ethos for the entire record. It’s simple. Underneath all of the production flex, does the song stand on its own? I’ve changed through writing this and I don’t think I could have achieved what I wanted if I hadn’t.” The intensity of ‘Pyre’; the surprising euphoria of ‘Renewal’; even the most recent single ‘Worship’ with its seductive vocals and eerie, almost religious themes or the sonic sprawling of closer ‘1991’ – SECT is a diverse, enthralling listen from start to finish.
Across ten tracks, Golden Features has delivered a career-defining record with SECT. Written “around the concept that exclusion forces outliers together in a most beautiful way,” it’s taken Stell four years to get here, but he has well and truly arrived with this record and because of his patience and unwavering vision of what he really was trying to achieve, he’s truly come out on top. The record his #1 on the dance charts the day it was released and it is not surprising at all – offering meticulously refined songs that are equal parts banger as they are thoughtfully-put together songs, SECT is proof that sometimes less is absolutely more.
SECT is out now via Warner Music Australia & Big Beat. Buy/stream here.
Catch Golden Features on tour at the dates below!
GOLDEN FEATURES TOUR DATES
BUY TICKETS HERE
Saturday, August 11 – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney (SOLD OUT)
Tuesday, August 14 – Eatons Hill, Brisbane
Saturday, August 18 – Metro City, Perth
Friday, August 24 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Saturday, August 25 – The Forum, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
Sunday, August 26 – The Forum, Melbourne
Words by Emma Jones