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“Living Hell” – Gold Spectacles | Review

For the first time in over eighteen months, Gold Spectacles – the tag-team songwriting and production tandem of Amie Pendarves and Robb Whiteman – have made some music under their own name and likeness.

The pair has had plenty on their plate, lending a creative hand to a plethora of artists while under a sponsorship from NEKO Trust, a provisional non-profit that assists UK-based talents in funding the early phases of their careers. Utilizing this newfound pathway to outsource their do-it-all composition, they’ve made sizable splashes in the regional indie-pop and contemporary R&B scenes with contributions to the work of up-and-comers like Mysie and SOFY.

Alas, that’s old news. They’ve since left NEKO, now embracing a temporary agrarian lifestyle that may reflect a return to basics – making music by them, for them.

Enter “Living Hell,” a comeback single tasked with rolling out the deluxe version of their 2019 self-titled LP. Pictured on the cover is the duo soaking in the simplicity of farmlife, yet the track itself – while endlessly bouncy and thoroughly enjoyable – makes finding comfort in a relationship seem harder than finding a needle in a haystack.

Amie plays the part of a young woman at the mercy of her own distress, and one can’t blame her – the uncertainty that comes with deciding to move out and venture into unknown territory with your partner can be overwhelming. The release and relationship stability that she once dreamed of begins to seem like calm before the storm, and she rationalizes that she should flee from her model partner before things inevitably go south.

The songwriting that constructs this narrative is simple but impactful. Verses depicting Amie’s irish exit and Robb’s call for her return sandwich a hook capturing the gist of it all, as the former acknowledges her self-destruction and sudden habit of “looking for an exit when it’s all going well.”

The pair wanted to encapsulate how easily chaos stems from catastrophizing, and they effectively did it in the most infectious manner imaginable. As a member of Gen. Z, my DNA composition instructs me to expect the worst out of any given scenario. But every time I’m enveloped by the warmth of the song – the soft keys and growing earworm of a guitar melody that accompany the docility of Amie’s voice – I find myself relaxed to a point of feeling that everything will fall into place.

“Living Hell” is of the same quality as any viral indie-pop anthem to come out in recent memory, and it’s inspiring to hear such well-made craft from a duo that not only works entirely at their own pace, but also under their own power. Place this in your end of summer playlist with no second thoughts, and let it be a reminder that life has a funny way of working out.

By Aidan Mega

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