Fool’s Gold – Fool’s Gold

January 01, 1970



Timing can be a bitch or a blessing. The LA
band-as-collective Fool’s Gold releases their debut record of lithe,
African-influenced dance-pop with a Hebrew slant on the heels of Vampire
Weekend supremacy and a new album from Matisyahu. Valid or not, comparisons are
inevitable, especially with the former. Such is the nature of music criticism
and wonkery.


This is not really fair, though, as Fool’s Gold’s musical
range and motivation are very different animals from these other bands. Yes,
bassist/vocalist Luke Top sometimes makes an unfortunate choice by appearing to
mimic a generic African patois, at least when he’s not singing in Hebrew, which
he does on much of the record. But the music that Fool’s Gold makes is expertly
woven into rich tapestries of poly-rhythms, percussion, horns, and spidery
guitar lines. The album’s opening track, “Surprise Hotel,” is the band at its
best, mellifluously and smartly embarking upon a journey through West African
melodies. Indeed, Africa is the source for
most of the record, but it’s not the only inspiration. “Poseidon” finds the
band flirting with ‘80s indie-pop, something the members would most likely
proudly acknowledge, as guitarist Lewis Pesacov cites The Smiths as one of his
many influences.


Fool’s Gold goes way beyond Graceland as a reference
point, and Luke Top’s nod to his Israeli roots is really not the same as an
orthodox Jew doing dancehall reggae. So let’s let bygones be bygones and ignore
recent events, because Fool’s Gold’s music offers too much pleasure to write
off as just another drop in the bucket of popular trends.


Standout Tracks: “Surprise
Hotel,” “The World is All There Is” JONAH


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