Goldheart Assembly - Wolves and Thieves

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-03-15

Après Mumford & Sons, le deluge. Actually, that's not really fair to Goldheart Assembly, the London band whose folky, big-hearted music has earned them early success. There's an admirable lack of Mumfordian bluster about opening track 'King of Rome' or any of the following tracks on this debut album. Their brand of winsome, essentially sunny guitar pop has a spiritual kinship to the West Coast breeziness of The Magic Numbers. That said, you can't help but suspect this album will find its way to the record collections of the same people who shelled out cash for Sigh No More by the aforementioned band of irritating wannabe inner-city scrumpers.

Goldheart Assembly's surefooted deployment of subtlety helps to sell a record which is, at its centre, all about big moments. And when we say big, we mean BIG. Huge melodies and harmonies. Skyscraping choruses. Glossy production values. It's like the soundtrack to a thousand as yet unmade Richard Curtis rom-coms. Again, to Goldheart Assembly's credit, they don't seek to bludgeon us over the head with this. After the surging, declamatory opening of 'King of Rome', 'Anvil' and 'Last Decade' are both gentle and sophisticated, choosing complex song-structure over easy point-scoring. Other tracks such as 'So Long St Christopher' are content to luxuriate in their easy going, Crosby Stills & Nash cowboy jangle.

But if it's the big moments you want - and let's face it, if you actually buy this record, it will be - 'Engraver's Daughter' and 'Under the Waterway' deliver the goods with ease. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being this polished, this studio-buffed, this benign. But you have to wonder, if a band sounds like this on their first record, where else can they go? On the evidence of Wolves and Thieves, Goldheart Assembly are headed straight for the middle of the road.

Richard Morris

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