Golden Drag’s Shehzaad Jiwani is an adult now and Pink City is a nuanced, textured, welcome respite from angry punk energy.
When I was a child, adulthood was presented as the apex of human development. To be an adult meant that one had graduated from dependency and infantilism to self-determination, maturity, and responsibility — from being a little shit to being The Shit™, basically. As anyone who has made the jump to adulthood knows, that’s a total crock of shit. The whole concept of adulthood was concocted by adults to dupe kids into taking on the adult world’s burdens, thereby lessening the load. Being an adult basically means spending the majority of your time trying to survive through intense periods of accountability (to employers, to family, to the world) in order to make it to weekends, holidays, and vacations where you are allowed to briefly revert back to having less, or no responsibilities.
What Greys’s frontman Shehzaad Jiwani knows and intrinsically understands on Pink Sky, his first solo album under the name Golden Drag, is that once you cross over to the other side — from young adult to full-fledged adult member of society — the dread and the burden of the workweek to the escape and hedonism of the weekends is just an endless loop. Set to a jaunty beat and brimming with bubblegum pop charm, “Caught Leaking Light” perfectly captures the ennui and sentiment of millennials in a single line: “Everyone my age / maxed out at ‘just okay’.”
Pink Sky is more than just an okay, maxing-out-one-trick-over-nine-tracks record. It is nuanced, textured, and a welcome respite from the barrage of angry punk energy the modern age is generating. “Shoot The Breeze” treads similar ground to “Caught Leaking Light”, but is elevated by Jiwani’s dreamy vocal delivery, pitched halfway between blissfully stoned and starry-eyed wonder. The monotonous (in a good way) electro-drone of early single “Aphex Jim” further enforces Jiwani’s premise that modern life is rubbish with pre-millennial Britpop overtones. “‘17 Til Infinity” sounds like an effects-laden, electro-acoustic magic wish to never grow up and always stay young no matter the consequences.
Even as adulthood looms on Pink Sky’s horizon, Jiwani’s youthful vigour and unabashed spirit spring forth on the straight-ahead rocker “Super Champs Theme Song” and the blistering “Bad Timing Neon Phase”. Adulthood might be the short end of humanity’s stick, but we don’t have to surrender to the dredge and mundanity. There is another option: resist, rejuvenate, repeat.