Goldrush’s “The Heart is the Place” begins with a slow, anthemic overture (called “Aperture”) that gives way with a sudden drop to “The Story of the City,” a smooth rock song that sounds remarkably like Snow Patrol. Or Bell X1. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, Snow Patrol rate high on my list of best indie bands ever (even if they’re not indie anymore). They’ll definitely be part of my pix for the ongoing ballot I’ve got floating out there, to select the best 25 indie albums ever, according to the blogosphere.

Claiming Grandaddy and Super Furry Animals as influences, Goldrush describes itself as having “retooled the country-hippie vibe for the indie era.” Honestly, I hear less of that and more of Coldplay or The Stars. This is a very produced production, but, again, there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Heart is the Place is both cheerful and sweet, catchy and clear, mellow and . . . Nice. Yeah. It’s nice. The title track is the album’s real rocker, throwing in bursts of brass and an unexpected shredding guitar solo. Kinda like Calexico, but a little less raw. And “Every One Of Us” is a standout track that picks up the pace on this otherwise pretty pastoral project. Truly, I’m baffled by some of the press I read that say this band has given up writing anthems with sheen in favor of a more lo-fi production. I confess, I haven’t heard their earlier work, but this is definitely a slick record—which works in its favor. Frankly, I don’t see how the lead singer‘s voice could ever be anything but gentle. It’s the rare indie male vocalist who can deliver tunes like these—Stadium-style drama without bombast.

If you like Snow Patrol, Bell X1, U2, or even Califone or Calexico, give these guys a chance.

Wait For The Wheels

Every One of Us

Let You Down

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