The Monarch, London Thursday, January 7
We’re [a]Goldheart Assembly[/a]… and as usual, everything is very disorganised,” announces singer James Dale disconsolately. Chaos is a general theme this evening; the cruel winter winds whip Camden like a tired nag, and snow on snow flumps from the heavens onto London’s groaning streets. Transport has been frozen back to the stone age, gigs are cancelled right left and centre, and it’s pretty much too cold to breathe. Support band [a]The Crookes[a] have pulled out, stranded in Sheffield. But rather than downscale their operation, Goldheart Assembly are laughing in the face
of extreme weather warnings and actually stepping things [i]up[/i] a notch. Originally scheduled to play a two-man acoustic set, on finding that the other three of their number were, well, just hanging around in the crowd with nothing to do, they’re upgraded to a full gig.
And don’t listen to their self-deprecating pleas. Impromptu or not, everything about these boys is polished and shiny and class as a walnut dresser. The clear, crisp harmonies of Tom Waits cover [b]‘Clap Hands’[/b] cut through the damp wool-coat fug of the Monarch and skewer shriveled hearts, the breathless romp of [b]‘King Of Rome’[/b] proves Mumford aren’t the only young folk-rockers with grand plans round these parts. Like [a]Cold War Kids[/a] lost in Laurel Canyon and crying for succour, Goldheart’s sound is as yearning as they come. Former single [b]‘So Long St Christopher’[/b] comes across like a folkier Fannies, all soft and lovelorn. When Goldheart Assembly’s album arrives in March, we would not be at all surprised to find them ‘doing a [a]Fleet Foxes[/a]’. These plaid-shirted, lazy-haired boys are no Robin Pecknold-style otherworldy creatures, though, as the rollick and growl of [b]‘Hope Hung High’[/b] proves, adding a bit of bluesy moodiness to the mix. Dale offers a final, totally unmerited apology, before leaving us pining after the devastating ballad [b]‘Engravers’ Daughter’[/b].
We can only imagine the sort of formidable heart-warming they’d muster if they ‘got organised’…