'The Heart Is The Place' washes over you like a room-temperature tsunami of beige...
Sam Bryant 2007
Shoegazing. There I've said it. Let us not mention it again. Having got the obligatory Goldrush adjective out the way, what's left? Goldrush had a tough time writing this one apparently - the creative and financial juices weren't flowing freely enough to keep them in fancy studios and slick producers, so they took things back to basics in some run-down cattleshed studio.
The supersaver economy option has been broadly a good thing - I like the hissy recordings; I like the shonky harmonies; I like the roomy drum sound; I like the fact it's freed them up to experiment with production techniques (check the bonkers brass section on “Can’t Give Up The Ghost”); and most of all I like the fact it's removed the possibility of using the kind of massive string section responsible for the saccharine feel of some of their earlier efforts.
However, although the absence of sheen has paid off on a production level, it's hard to get past the fact that much of their songwriting is stunningly average. The cracks may be unpapered, but they’re still cracks. It'd be unfair to complain Goldrush don’t make ‘em like they used to – true, there are no instantly catchy tracks on The Heart Is The Place, but to pursue that as a line of critique would be to make the band a slave to the shoegazing tag that I've already said I wouldn't mention again (sorry). Bands should move on. The problem is Goldrush don't really give us anything in place of its anthemic past: the songs are fine, but lack originality or spark; the production's warm, but not experimental enough to have intrinsic value on that level alone. It's an album without edge; nothing really holds the attention, and it ends up slipping in to the yawning chasm of average.
It's only fair to point out that the band are at the centre of Oxford's Truck festival, which pretty much rules, as does the DIY ethic it revolves around. But The Heart Is The Place washes over you like a room-temperature tsunami of beige – briefly warm and comforting, but the lack of standout moments ultimately proves smothering.