Fool's Gold: Fool’s Gold

By: Ron Hart

Given their penchant for incorporating the grooves of Mother Africa into their sound, Los Angeles' Fool's Gold has been dubbed the "West Coast Vampire Weekend." However, unlike their New York City counterparts, this ten-man strong ensemble doesn't merely whitewash the rhythms of the Dark Continent with silly songs about Oxford commas and Lil' Jon. Rather, they dive headfirst into the complex Afro-funk grooves and highlife melodies with the aplomb of Naked-era Talking Heads, delivering a tight, thunderous homage to the West African guitar pop of King Sunny Ade on their incredible eponymous debut.

Frontman Luke Top alternates his vocals between English and his native Hebrew, which gives songs like "Ha Dvash" and "Posideon" a unique feel in their sense of ethnicity, while subliminally referencing the deep Jewish history that has existed in Africa within the landscape of such countries as Ethiopia, Egypt, and Tunisia that dates back to Biblical times. Elsewhere, particularly on the instrumental workout "Night Dancing," the band seems more interested in just breaking off a piece of those restless polyglot boogies cooked up by Fela Kuti and Ginger Baker back in 1971. Don't be a "Fool." If you need help in choosing a band from the recent rash of Afro-indie acts flooding the market, go for the "Gold."

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[Published on: 11/5/09]

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