Goldheart Assembly, ICA, 31st March

The following review appears in the latest edition of London’ premier music ‘zine, London Tour Dates

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The modern face of British folk-pop fandom is morphing and merging. These days at a gig you’re just as likely to see willowy Goldsmiths students called Francesca supping cocktails as a crusty holding a plastic pint glass, although to be sure there were a couple of beards on show at the ICA that would have impressed the Taliban. All united in the happy sound of Goldheart Assembly celebrating the launch of debut album “Wolves and Thieves”.

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They’ve been compared to Fleet Foxes but that does the London-based six-piece down a little and over-compliments the well-regarded Fleet. Goldheart source their tunes from a far less morose well. Although they’ve none of The Thrills Oirish-Topofthemornin’ness they’ve more of that band’s sunny,  California-inspired sound in them than most others in the folk arena –“ check out the harmonies on Last Decade and Roger Waters-lookalike guitarist Dominc Keshavarz’s sweet jingling on So Long St Christopher — although whether  they’ve ever set foot near San Diego is open to question.

They’ve the good looks and keen fashion sense of a band that can spy not only a good tune but also a niche in the market with just a hint of commercial success lurking around. But have they got the sharky instincts to stay the course and go for it? With more challenging and leftfield songs like the night’s opener Jesus Wheel sitting comfortably alongside the sugary stuff, could they be the Kings of Leon of the UK’s beard-pop?

Tour Dates magazine likes to give star ratings to CDs but I’ll leave it to comedian Ed Byrne to be the first to rate a live gig the same way; passing the lanky Irishman on my way out into a chilly end-of-March London, I asked him for his verdict: “10 out of 10. They’re a great band.”

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