Soulful and innovative, Familia’s debut album Golden Lies is worthy to stand amongst many of the excellent alt-rock releases of this decade. Golden Lies paces along with the urgency of Zeppelin-esque arena rock, yet manages to glide as glassily as something by My Brightest Diamond. Familia play a tight, slick groove, certainly exhibiting the closeness and chemistry of a musical family. It’s not difficult to draw comparisons to The Strokes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metric, Kings of Leon and Interpol, but Familia are pioneers of their own style. They drop seamlessly from straight rock pulses in “Oh Wretched Man” into catchy shuffles, and showcase nods to a multitude of styles throughout the album – take the jazz-infused “Today”, or the acoustic ode “Kinda Like A Mess”, for example.
Rhythm and blues run through this album’s veins, putting it in the good company of a multitude of rock greats. There are hard-rocking tracks too, like “Out Of My Head”. However, the best track on this album is probably “More”, which brings to mind the contagious stylistics of Tegan & Sara, bolstered by some highly creative percussion and evolving instrumentation from the band.
“Seventeen” contains one of the most uplifting choruses you’ll ever sing along to, but it’s afterwards that you realize the actual power of the anthem you’ve been compelled into chanting: it’s a captivating synocapted line that goes: “punishment brought our peace / by His wounds we are healed”. This is juxtaposed against the first telling lines, “she fell in love with a boy who was seventeen / she didn’t know what real love was / so he took her to places that she’d never been / well, he took her to places and now she has to pay”.
Familia pull no punches on this debut release; it’s fearless and incredibly solid all-around, no doubt making for fantastic tour material. Besides all the great work from each of the band’s instrumentalists, lead singer Tamara Umlah (the sister of drummer Cody Hiles) has a voice that would make many envious. Since, reportedly, the other band members decided to take a chance on her a few years ago when considering vocalists, they must count themselves fortunate now!