Some voices are so compelling that it sounds like the singer steps out of your speakers and into your living room for a private concert. On Good Night, Gold Dust’s 2010 debut EP, “Between the Click of the Light and the Start of the Dream,” singer Laura Schultz tiptoed into your floodlights, took you by the hands, cooed sweet nothings, flipped you on your head and brought her heel down on your throat. And that was just the first song. Schultz did sexy sultry like Michelle Pfeiffer on the Baker Boys’ piano top, turned dejected country defiant as nimbly as Jenny Lewis, snarled like a riot grrrl, and belted pop songs and ballads alike with a full-hearted force that, unfortunately, damn near rattled the disc’s barebone mixes right apart.
New EP “Towards the Sun” builds a more fitting performance space for Schultz’s wow talent. "Hide the Moon" and "Rag Doll" continue the slow-burn shimmer of "Between the Click" standout "Honey," giving Schultz more room to range and time to linger on her words. "Heaven-Sent" is a lovely country waltz featuring big jolts of Colin Scharf's guitar, which is one of the things I really like about Good Night, Gold Dust: they're a band band, not just some musicians slapped together to back up a pretty voice. Scharf even takes lead vocals on one of their most adventurous tracks yet, the epic Arcade Fire suburban myth-maker "Icarus," heralded by dramatic stop-starts and brassy Broken Social Scene horns.
But what I love about Good Night Gold Dust is Schultz. Listen to the two best tracks on the disc and tell me you're not hearing a born star: "Absolution," the kind of guilty, wounded, helplessly lost in lost love song you'd expect from a power pop Feist album, and the title track, on which Scharf and drummer Josh Willaert's funk trance drive Schultz and the band's enhanced sound to an ecstatic, bold-faced exclamation point, should-have been finale. Surely there was something Schultz could have sang to punch up the actual closer, instrumental "Bright Star."
Hell, the phone book would have worked.
Joey Tayler is the lead writer on Rocksposure.com. Based out of Milwaukee, WI, he is always looking for a new show to see. If there is something you think he should be listening to, send him an email at JoeyT@Rocksposure.com