I first heard of the Oxford, England group Goldrush from their stellar sophomore album Ozona. That particular album, written while they were stranded in a tiny Texas town, perfectly fused the finest elements of British pop and Americana. Nearly two years later, they have returned with a new album and a bigger sound. The Heart Is The Place shows a talented band that is continuing to expand and evolve, leaving the dusty roads of Ozona, TX for the grimy sidewalks of the big city.
It is impossible to ignore the obvious comparisons that can be made to the UK band Elbow throughout the album. Take the opener, "Aperature," and its segued continuation into "The Story Of The City." The slow building, repetitive chords, pounding drums and choral singing that takes well over two minutes to get to the words, almost reminds the listener of the payoff once Elbow's "Station Approach" kicks in. It is an awesome moment, and definitely worth the wait.
The band's sound has been polished up quite a bit, such as on the pop track "Every One Of Us." Frontman Robin Bennett's vocals are much more prominent than in their previous album, leaning a bit towards those of Doves' Jimi Goodwin. "Can't Give Up The Ghost" is a great ballad, showing an accessibility that should place them in the slightly more mainstream area of bands such as Snow Patrol.
This album revolves around one song in particular, the string-filled "Heaven's My Destination." It is mid-tempo, but they keep it interesting by slowing adding and shifting textures as the song goes on. Tiny bits of electronic beats supplement the drums at times, while a xylophone and repeating keyboard noise keep it all moving forward. The strings help fill up the chorus, pushing Bennett's vocals higher and higher as he sings "it's so far away." Goldrush has really found a sound that they can now call their own.
For fans of Ozona, you can still hear tiny bits of their Americana influences peek out for brief moments such as on "24 Hours," but those moments are few and far between. For The Heart Is The Place, Goldrush is aiming for an interesting cross section of an audience. Some moments of their new material does have a much more mass appeal than their previous work, but they still have plenty of complex arrangements and experimental sounds to keep the music snobs entertained as well. Getting those two groups to get along is not an easy task, but this band may have done just that.