I suppose we are getting perilously close to that time of the year when music critics do the "Big tips for 2010" stories. None of them would go far wrong placing this wonderful band in their list. Fools Gold may forever be associated with the Stone Roses "acid baggy" anthem but this new band from Los Angeles may be about to claim definitive use of the name.
Who or what are Fools Gold? Wait for it .......
According to My Space "they are a multi-member "collective" that mix Ethiopian soul music, Touareg music from Mali, Congolese secousse music, Eritrean soul music, tropicalia, and '80s dance hits. Oh by the way they also sing some of their songs in Hewbrew for good measure (Nadine)
Alright I fully accept it sounds like a completely tangled and perverse mess. I can also hear the screams of what about Tinawarian and Vampire Weekend and the answer is yes they clearly are huge influences. Into this you could also through Talking Heads and Yeasayer. But so what? This is some of the most joyous and exhilarating music you will hear and however unlikely it works brilliantly
All the tracks are great but the three key reference points for the interested are Surprise Hotel, the aforementioned "Nadine" and "Ha Dvash". All have already been subject to a variety of mixes on the internet but none are as good at the originals. With the variety of languages used I can't tell you about the lyrics but the music speaks for itself. There are bewildering African rhythms, funky beats, sublime guitar lines and instruments which none of us have ever heard of but that form a concoction so downright danceable that you will need to nail your feet to floor to keep them still
As we approach 2010 perhaps we need to move on. Most new American bands at the moment take there inspiration from the brilliant Fleet Foxes and that fine. Ragged Wood is a seminal album but diversity must also underpin music. Tinariwen are in my humble opinion as important to African music as Bob Marley and the Wailers were to reggae. It is a joy to see other musicians drawing from this well of music and actually taking it forward. Fools Gold have immersed themselves in African music. In the age of live concerts they will never be out of work. Indeed I can't wait to see them on stage but more than this they have produced a truly outstanding debut album and they are an extraordinary prospect.