Fool's Gold - Leave No Trace (Music CD)

Release Date: 05 September 2011
Artist: Fool's Gold
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By the time of their second album, L.A.'s Fool's Gold solidified their lineup from an expansive and somewhat amorphous eight-to-twelve-person collective into a condensed five-member band. Correspondingly, perhaps, Leave No Trace largely reins in the freely flowing pan-global jams of the group's debut in favor of a more tightly structured set of songs, a change that turns out to somewhat diminish their music's singularity, if not its fundamental charm. It's not that the defining African and Middle Eastern strains which predominated throughout Fool's Gold -- the layered polyrhythms and, in particular, the gleaming, liquid Afro-pop guitar lines -- are wholly absent here; indeed, they're all right there in opening cut "The Dive," which also gestures toward Brazilian samba in its percussion (and whose central guitar riff is a kissing cousin to first album stand-out "Surprise Hotel.") But the international influences are noticeably toned down and made to share space with more familiar, pedestrian Western rock and pop elements, bringing the group's sound closer to the more generically "tropical-inflected" indie rock of artists like Foreign Born (two of whose members overlap with Fool's Gold) and Vampire Weekend. The band also experiment with adding some squelchy synthesizers and electronic textures, most prominently on "Street Clothes," which veers unexpectedly into full-on '80s art-funk territory, complete with sproingy drum triggers, clavinet, and a chaotically skronking sax. Further diluting the group's multi-cultural spirit, singer Luke Top largely forgoes his native Hebrew this time out to sing in English (save on the bilingual "Tel Aviv.") All of this is fine as far as it goes: the global stew may be watered down, but it hasn't entirely lost its flavor. Leave No Trace still sounds great; the playing is marvelously light and breezy, and these tunes are still enjoyably summery, simmering, and infectiously danceable (if not, on the whole, terribly memorable.) Still, it's hard not to wish Fool's Gold had figured out how to develop and expand their approach without compromising so much of what made their debut so delightfully unique. ~ K. Ross Hoffman
Release Date: 05 September 2011
Artist: Fool's Gold

1. The Dive
2. Wild Window
3. Street Clothes
4. Leave No Trace
5. Balmy
6. Narrow Sun
7. Tel Aviv
8. Mammal
9. Bark and Bite
10. Lantern


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Catalogue No: 65660578912