For an LA based world music collective, Fool's Gold is a risky name choice. It's not because the group won't escape the overwhelming shadow cast over it by Matthew McConaughey's romantic comedy of the same name, although lead singer Luke Top will have to start posing with his shirt off if he wants to dominate Fool's Gold search results on Google images. The real risk for the group is a) they're named after a mineral renowned for looking like treasure at a glance, but ultimately bearing no authentic value, and b) the musicians involved are creating global pop despite the national handicap of being born on star spangled soil.
And while Fool's Gold follows a slew of African influenced rock from groups like Vampire Weekend, it has never sounded so refreshingly original as it does on Fool's Gold. Yes, global pop and US rock mix frequently, but where most groups dabble internationally, Fool's Gold is fully immersed in the international, going several songs at a time without leaving a fingerprint to evidence their American heritage. The group, co-fronted by guitarist Lewis Pesacov, contains friends and members of Pesacov's other clan Foreign Born, delving deeper into Foreign Born's jam-worthy riffs and international leanings by replacing tightly structured pop compositions with expanded instrumentals, and radio friendly lyrics with Luke Top's Hebrew tongues. While singing in Hebrew makes it hard to relate word for word to what Top is saying at a given moment, its indecipherability allows the listener to take a step back and enjoy Top's powerful chants as another instrument broadening the tribal party vibe that Fool's Gold embodies.
From the opening notes of "Surprise Hotel," through the wide open jams of "Posiedon" and beyond, the enthusiasm, passion and skill of Fool's Gold breaks national genre borders. On their eponymous debut, the group have created a true musical melting pot, meshing sounds from Africa, Asia and Europe with occasional US rock riffs ("Ha Dvash,") resulting in what sounds like one hell of a round the world vacation. And the album is a welcomed vacation from the countless sound alike groups cluttering up our sound waves. I could be a fool myself, but Fool's Gold sound like the real thing to me.