Fool’s Gold Records has been around for almost four years now, impressively young considering the depth of their oddball roster. A-Trak’s deep phonebook has resulted in a label that’s defined a specific niche and branded sound — with some serious hit-making potential in their ranks. Kid Sister has been hovering just below breakout for a while now, Chromeo’s steady, electro-funk climb has led to some crossover jams, and the LA Riots production duo is one of the most exciting things going in terms of remixes. So it seems as good a time as any for Fool’s Gold to curate a showcase. Unfortunately, the brief, compressed Fool’s Gold Vol. 1 is only a marginally interesting look at some of the label’s more glossed-over acts.
This is not the deliciously delirious exotic club-punishers Fool’s Gold has become notorious for. Unfortunately most of the tracks on Vol. 1 sound rather hollow, scrounged together to fill a release gap or just to clear some second-rate material. The performers involved — Lil B, The Suzan, Treasure Fingers — have all been periodically great, but here the cuts lack a certain finished glossiness. They’re dance-floor-fillers with no real swagger or purpose. Even the workaholic A-Trak arrives with a goofy, Warner Bros. instrumental, “Ray Ban Vision,” that’s ruined by CyHi da Prynce. The whole album has a worryingly thrown-together aesthetic, and the brisk, insubstantial running time of 30 minutes seems to prove that.
The collection succeeds in small doses. Tensnake’s slinky remix of Vega’s “No Reasons” shapes up into a effusive house jam, and The Suzan’s pinging chant, “Animal,” rounds out the album nicely. But that’s about it in terms of memorable cuts. It’s a shame, really. Fool’s Gold isn’t necessarily known for great LPs, but the label’s knack for singles with memorable hooks and sticky melodies should be the stuff of a great compilation source. What we’re given is a spotty run of half-formed club-junk. And in a format that’s suppose to gather prime pieces into a cohesive listen, an adjective like “spotty” isn’t going to cut it.