Fool’s Gold, the side project of Foreign Born hombre numero uno Lewis Pesacov, has too many things going for it to keep it as a side project for long. For one, Fool’s Gold are all about Afro-pop, which, as anyone with an RSS full of remixes that can only be described as “tropical” can tell you, is hot shit right now. Second, they have a guy (Luke Top) who sings in Hebrew throughout most of the album. Hebrew! Can you believe it? Fool’s Gold is the only band that could appear in Fader and JWeekly at the same time. It’s like the members of Fool’s Gold work-shopped how to make themselves more highly bloggable, and they totally succeeded.
All that Wikipedia stuff becomes a secondary concern, though, from the first chime of the sly opening guitar line of “Surprise Hotel,” an extensive Afro-pop jam that takes the pop charms of Vampire Weekend and doubles the length. From the trash-can drums and the handclaps to the spitted exultations, the double-time breakdown in the middle and the saxophone riff, “Surprise Hotel” is so well put together that it outshines about every other Afro-pop-inflected single released this year.
There are only a handful of moments that are as transcendent as “Surprise Hotel” amongst the seven other tracks on Fool’s Gold. The watery and jocular “Poseidon” barrells with great abandon toward its dancy closing third. Horns and a tumbling bass line provide “Nadine” with multiple peaks and valleys of emotion, and the jangling percussion of “Momentary Shelter” closes the album on a high note.
Throughout its 43 minutes, Fool’s Gold has the air of the kind of effortless breeziness that comes with tossed-off side projects. But that vibe underscores the effectiveness of the album, which features multiple stylistic quirks that could lead Fool’s Gold in a variety of directions if they continue as a project (the undercooked ‘80s pop vibe of “Yam Lo Moshach,” for one, deserves more exploration). But if this is the only album we’ll ever from this solid side project, that’s more than OK, too.