Typically‚ it would be off base to call an album loaded with bilingual‚ intercontinental party jams minimalist‚ but with Fool's Gold everything is relative. Since their sprawling 2009 self-titled debut‚ Fool's Gold have stripped down from a revolving-door double-digit collective to a focused quintet‚ tightened their exploratory jams and translated the bulk of Luke Top's lyrics from Hebrew to English. The result sounds like a blend between Fool's Gold and Foreign Born‚ guitarist Lewis Pesacov & drummer Garret Ray's other band. This movement toward a more radio friendly sound has upset some debut album purists‚ but in the context of the band's brief catalog‚ Leave No Trace provides a new perspective‚ along with some of the catchiest songs you'll hear all year.
When you first listen to Leave No Trace‚ you'll immediately notice that many of the songs omit a substantial chunk of the group jamming that fleshed out Fool's Gold. The opening tracks of Leave No Trace have been distilled to their hook driven cores‚ which results in genuine pop singles that will stick in your head and stay there. "Wild Window‚" the group's only sub 3-minute song ever‚ makes a convincing argument for brevity‚ intently focusing itself on some of Pesacov's most dance floor ready global grooves and Top's soulful mantras. Top's anglophone musings don't typically reveal any startling revelations‚ but they do make group sing-alongs way easier.
But with this shift to English lyrics and tighter arrangements comes a loss of some of Fool's Gold's most definitive characteristics. Critics who foolishly compared the band's first album to Afro-curious rock bands like Vampire Weekend will find more to compare this time around if they're looking‚ which is a shame because there's still nobody else that sounds like Fool's Gold. "Tel-Aviv" finds Top liberally swapping between Hebrew and English‚ prompting listeners to wonder if Fool's Gold will eventually blend the styles of their first two albums‚ or just try something new altogether. It's hard to make a second album that escapes the shadow of an innovative debut. Leave No Trace might not always escape the shade that Fool's Gold casts‚ but it still serves as a fun‚ accessible and different companion to its older brother. With endless cultural influences‚ energy and improvisation at their disposal‚ it will be interesting to see what these young and promising musicians create next.