(WARNING: THIS MESSAGE CONTAINS UNSUBTLE MARKETING CONTENT)
It seemed we but blinked and another year slipped through our grasp. Welcome back cruel, cold December. May we mark the turning of 2013’s final month with a reminder: we released an album this year and it is called ‘Long Distance Song Effects’. In the spirit of this gift giving season we would be ever so grateful if you, our loyalist friends, could purchase a copy to pass on as present to fellow music enthusiasts, thus spreading the merry light of Goldheart Assembly to those in the dark. It can be found in physical format here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Goldheart-Assembly-Long-Distance-Effects/dp/B00CEU4HV2
Last Thursday night I headed over to Manchester to see Goldheart Assembly at the Soup Kitchen. Having never been to this particular venue before but hearing lots of good things about it, and being a big fan of the band it was a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, so off we went.
Then on came Goldheart Assembly and they were fantastic. They have great songs and the vocal harmonies are superb. They played a mix of the stuff from the new album (to be reviewed more thoroughly soon) and the old stuff all of which went down really well. They can do very poppy indie songs one minute, some songs have a folk tinge to them and next they can be very rocky almost like Americana. The British answer to Band Of Horses. Atmosphere in the venue was great and the intimacy of the small room made for good banter with the audience in between songs. Met the band afterwards too and got them to sign a few bits and they were really nice fellas, very chatty and approachable and genuinely appreciative that we’d traveled over to see them. All in all, a great gig.
James Dale, who together with John Herbert shares lead vocalist credit, opened the performance of the up-and-coming indie rock band on Friday night. The rest of the band is made up of drummer Nicky Francis, Jake Bowser on the keyboard and guitarist Kyle Hall. The small, local venue in north London brought together devout fans of the melancholy, soulful melodies of Goldheart Assembly for their brief return to their hometown for a one-off performance. The evening, which also featured the brisk, country-style tunes of opening band Cattle and Cane, presented tracks from GA’s latest album Long Distance Sound Effects, and also a few new songs to be included in an upcoming third.
The band first came together thanks to their mutual love of the Beatles, while front-runners of the group James Dale and John Herbert laughingly claim to have met while working at Whipsnade Zoo. Coming from two rival bands, they decided to bury the hatchet and team up. The name comes from the Guided by Voices song Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory. Their sound, with echoes of Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, is also known for its use of unconventional instruments; their first album Wolves and Thieves was apparently recorded in an old train museum, featuring the sounds of a steam locomotive. They also claim to love the sound of slamming doors, from which they get their best drum sounds.
The evening saw the inclusion of a string quartet and brass instruments for added crunch, although the final, booming result made it somewhat difficult to discern their necessity. In fact, GA’s cool, calm style didn’t quite shine through, but the band’s crowd-pleasers such as Into Desperate Arms and Engraver’s Daughter got the biggest cheers from the audience. The trademark ethereal style was best enjoyed when performing their simpler pieces such as So Long St. Christopher.
It remains to be seen if Goldheart Assembly will reach the heights of groups like Arcade Fire or Fleet Foxes, and other bands that share the so-called “West Coast-style vocal harmonies,” but their original and innovative use of instruments and sounds promises much fertile ground.