Fool's Gold

Blending African and Middle Eastern influences together with a vague hint of guitar-based Western pop, the Los Angeles world-pop outfit Fool's Gold make music that's as glittery and beguiling as their moniker suggests, though not nearly as disingenuous. Spearheaded by bassist/vocalist Luke Top and Lewis Pesacov, both native Israelis who emigrated to L.A. at an early age, the group is at once an Angeleno affair and a truly global one, with its members (who number somewhere between eight and 12) hailing from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Israel, not to mention including three-quarters of Pesacov's indie rock band Foreign Born (and erstwhile members of the Fall and We Are Scientists). Top's bilingual lyrics (in Hebrew and English), a wailing sax section, and an array of handmade and internationally scavenged percussion instruments all add to the pan-ethnic flavor, but the group's aesthetic is most firmly rooted in its founders' lifelong love of world music, and more specifically their appreciation of Congolese soukous, Ethiopian and Eritrean music, and Tuareg desert blues -- all styles that, as they've pointed out, were in turn partially inspired by Western music. Top, whose heritage is Russian and Iraqi, and Pesacov, whose musical background also includes studying classical composition in Berlin with American expatriates, met at a San Fernando Valley summer camp at age ten, and have played music together ever since. Top and Pesacov started Fool's Gold in 2006, building on an initial inspiration to combine African and Western pop sounds with a handful of quickly penned joint compositions and jam sessions, which then led to a series of informal gigs at barbecues and backyard parties, where they invited anybody who wanted to play to come up and join them. Over the next several years the band solidified into the lineup that recorded its self-titled, self-produced debut in 2008, released the following year on IAMSOUND Records. However, several members parted ways with Fool's Gold not long after, and the remainder carried on as a more traditional five-piece for 2011's Leave No Trace. ~ K. Ross Hoffman

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