Named after one of poetry’s greatest lines, ‘I am the pure gold baby. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air,’ Gold Baby is the moniker of up-and-coming North London songwriter Siân Alex and her bandmate Scott. Much in the vein of Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Seventeen,’ ‘500/1’ hypothetically shoves 2003 Siân in a time machine, allowing her to have a conversation with the woman she grew up to be.
The woman she encounters is glib and plain spoken, ‘All I’ve learned is duller ways to waste my time,’ she sings, decrying the often pointless obligations adulthood brings. As the conversation develops, modern day Sian becomes defensive and volatile, her voice going up an octave, singing ‘You knew that I’d be fabulous, didn’t you? Admit it.’ It’s the song’s best moment, her voice cracking as she effortlessly blends self-empowerment with denial.
The verse is lighter than anything Gold Baby have done before, the fragile guitar tones more indebted to folk-rock maybe a sign of a change in direction. The chorus though is more reflective of the band’s beginnings, a powerful, soaring burst of grunge/pop-punk that hits like a gust of wind.
The conclusion is haunting, ‘Bad dream, bad dream, this is just a bad dream’ sung in a schoolgirl-like chant, the kind horror film directors have employed relentlessly to haunt family homes. Which Sian that thought belongs to is left unclear. The odds the thought originated from 2013 Sian should stand at much higher than 500/1, as if she were to hear Gold Baby’s latest single we’re certain she’d look in awe at the woman she developed into, just as we are.