Back with their fifth album in as many years, Turkish psych-folk outfit Altın Gün has returned with a distinctive set of Anatolian rock numbers dripping with funky attitude – and we’re here for it. While the outfit has easily blended in with the ever-growing contemporary neo-psych scene, the group’s harkening back to the golden age of Anadolu rock gives them a favorable edge. The band’s USP has always been a welcome dose of traditional rhythms and hypnotic jams in a genre too often reliant on delay pedals and wig outs.
Revisiting the more forceful sound of their first two albums, ‘Aşk’ leans off the synthy diversions of 2021’s ‘Âlem’ and the preceding ‘Yol’ and lets the band’s tightness as an outfit shine over subtler instrumentation. That’s not to say there isn’t a good dash of wonky synth magic peppering the tracks – there sure is – but the band’s latest is a leaner beast. It’s an album where the sextet has taken all they’ve learned before and trimmed away any fat.
Over its ten tracks, the dueling vocals of Merve Daşdemir and Erdinç Ecevit Yıldız prove as spellbinding as ever, while the rest of the band get their moments to shine too. The fuzzy guitar breakdown on ‘Rakiya Su Katamam’ will keep any old rocker happy, and the haunting ‘Güzelliğin On Para Etmez’ sees the band have a stab at what could best be described as ‘Space-Country.’ It’s the aforementioned number that might capture what Altın Gün does best. Gently genre-mashing the old and new over a bedrock of 70s Anatolian jams. It’s unfamiliar, yet comforting, old-fashioned but out there. Like finding a faded sci-fi paperback in a language, you perhaps don’t speak yourself.
‘Aşk’ showcases new confidence from the band, this latest release happily adding strength to an already stellar catalog and not diverting from it. As groups go, Altın Gün landed pretty fully formed, each album tweaking that initial magic that’s helped them stand out from their contemporaries. Here we find the band’s live energy captured best of all. Six friends, happy to be recording post-pandemic and capturing the magic using vintage gear and tape. An urgency and classic rock vibe, noticeably missing from recent atmospheric releases, is back in full swing here, and it works to their advantage.
Despite their impressive output rate, the band shows no signs of dropping a clanger yet. It’s another fabulous album, complete with fabulous cover, from one of neo-psych’s most exciting prospects. We can’t think of a better entry point if you’re a stranger to the band.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart