"Gold Rush" - Basia Bulat
Eager youth and venerable tradition is a compelling combination, and a perpetual argument against sourpusses who rise with foolish predictability, in every generation, to proclaim that good music ended at some lamented moment in the receding past. Good music never stops arriving; good listening frequently grinds to a halt, however.
"Gold Rush" is a particularly charming amalgam of the old and the new. The old registers in the exuberant, rustic vibe embodied by a stringed managerie that includes fiddles and Bulat's signature autoharp; the new is all in the song's energy: in Bulat's freewheeling vocals, in the galloping percussion, and maybe best of all in her innate sense of drama. This young Canadian knows just when to pull back and when to let loose--listen to how well, for instance, the song's rollicking momentum is set up by the opening section, with its deliberate series of staccato fiddle chords; check out, also, how she clears space for those out-of-the-blue but abruptly perfect harmony vocals in the bridge (1:42). And she wraps up this spirited rollercoaster ride in a nifty three and a half minutes.
"Gold Rush" is the first song made available from Bulat's upcoming Heart Of My Own, her second album, scheduled for release in January on Rough Trade/Beggars. MP3 via the Beggars Group.