Grandchildren began in 2008 as the solo recording project of Aleks Martray, forging intricately layered arrangements with only an acoustic guitar, a mic and a loop pedal. Since then, it has evolved into a 6 piece pop-orchestra known for its high energy live performances featuring dueling drums, circuit bending electronics and an instrument swapping horn section. On stage, the tiny 5'3" frontman remains stoic, at the eye of the storm, encircled by a whirlwind of animated instrumentalists, belting out melodies in a voice that defies his own stature.
Martray attributes Grandchildren's eclectic sound to his nomadic upbringing in a military family across Europe and the US and his journeys throughout Latin America as a young adult: "I think when you live and travel all over the world from such a young age your mind constructs a sort of map that is an amalgamation of all of these different worlds. I see the music as a soundtrack for this puzzle-like landscape that otherwise would exist only in my head." As their 2010 debut album Everlasting aimed to piece together the feel of various places, their new record attempts to collage together various points in time.
Golden Age, Grandchildren's sophomore album, reads like a scrapbook in homage to that elusive era that serves as a reference point for how we'd like to remember "the way things used to be", how they "ought to be", but probably never really were. The recordings stem from this concept musically, pulling from a vast array of influences, and thematically, swirling around it from all angles with songs of hope and disillusionment, optimism and doubt, nostalgia and anticipation, caution and regret. The cinematically layered musical arrangements set the stage for unique vocal stylings that take on a range of characters in what Martray describes as something akin to method acting. "The lyrics are simple because it's all subtext to the music. They're more like the voice of a character and the music is the setting, and so the story unfolds between them." As these scenes play out, what unfolds is a narrative about how we project our fears, hopes, desires on everything and everyone around us, forcing our simplistic ideals on a complex world.