Goldheart Assembly: The Borderline, London – live review

Goldheart Assembly

The Borderline – London

July 9th 2013

Louder Than War check out Goldheart Assembly’s recent London show and, despite it not being the best show our man’s ever seen the band put on, he was still pretty much blown away by it.

Last Sunday, the Sunday before last and the Sunday before that…and most Sundays over the past three years or so….

What do you listen to in the mornings when you’re making the bed, frying those eggs and watching the cats in next door’s garden ?

For the chosen few of us it’s been Goldheart Assembly’s Wolves and Thieves debut album.

Everyone must have a favourite surely? That artist who you read every facebook update they post and wonder how long the wait will be for the next installment even if it’s just a free download or YouTube video showing them arse around in Switzerland teasing us with snippets of what they’re up to?

Wolves and Thieves by Goldheart Assembly is one of those albums that we’ll all go to a large venue in a large city one day to hear recreated live and in the running order of which it appears on the CD because one day the world will realise what a wonderful album this is.

However in order to achieve this and officially title that piece of work a “masterpiece” they will need a few more tunes over the years to back this up.

And boy, oh boy, they really do appear to be getting there.

The Borderline, in London’s West End is sat in the shadow of the bloody great Centre Point tower that looks about to fall down amongst the debris of the Tottenham Court Road. We used to come here to this road and watch bands called Nirvana in the old Astoria and feel excited about being in this part of the capital.

Not any more.


It’s being turned into a fucking huge railway station and we’ll return when there’s something OK going on at the 100 club around the corner on Oxford Street but apart from that, the West End is now almost redundant in terms of decent venues.

Goldheart Assembly has a new album out and some of us have been waiting patiently for this whilst simultaneously watching and listening to the rest of the world go by and on tonight’s showing we go home excited enough to believe it might just be as good as the last one.

Maybe even better.

Only time will tell.

They’ve sold the place out.

That’s about 250 – 300 people.

And we’ve packed out this place this evening to happily hum along to the bits that don’t have words and sing-a-long to the ones that we recognise from the debut.

We only get three or four from that debut (I’ll stop going on about that album now) but the new songs….well, I think it’s safe to say already that those in this hot sweaty venue are smitten enough after this evening’s performance to return again soon and start singing along to the new songs that became available recently in the form of second album Long Distance Song Effects.

I’m struggling to actually review this gig because unlike other performances we’ve seen over the years this wasn’t the best.

A blip.

With too much reverb and a venue with no decent vantage point.

So, the dozens of us over by the bar (naturally) and pretty much standing under a speaker couldn’t really hear too well what was going on, but we did hear enough to realise that these new songs, on first listen seem as strong as the old ones and well worth a trip down the record shop to free the moths from our wallets and get this new album just from tonight’s show.

There’s a mischievous look about this band.

Sure, they’re serious people singing serious songs with serious instruments and a seriously huge oil drum that could cause them problems when attempting to tie it to a roof rack but the look of any schoolboy smirk seems to fade away once the songs are in full flow.

We get a marvellous comedy moment when guitarist John Herbert decides to slope over to the the piano for a bit before handing back the reins to the pianos’ owner, Jake Bowser, mid-song and inadvertently leans on a synth behind him that makes a schoolboy farting noise in one of the quiet numbers. A belly laugh that any stand up comedian would dream of getting ensues from the packed crowd but a song that is so marvellous and sweet that normal service is restored in a matter of seconds.

Every song is gorgeous, harmonious and stunningly as beautiful as those on Mercury Rev’s Deserters Songs.

We’re reminded of songs from the past such as The Eagles’ Lyin’ eyes, or a less pompous Electric Light Orchestra.

More recent comparisons would point towards bands we love like Fleet Foxes, Band Of Horses or Dry The River. I’m going to ignore the gig actually. This band have set their standards very high now.

A lot of us will keep going back for more and more and many of us will eagerly await the next album and the next and the next.

Londoners may like to know the next show will be at the Barfly in Camden on August 29th as part of XFM’s Xposure nights.

Updates on Goldheart Assembly’s activity can be found here on their website or follow them on Twitter / like on Facebook.

Give’em a look when they visit you town and check out their two albums.

And if you like this then start setting your alarms for a very early wake up call on Sundays for the next few years.

All words by Keith Goldhanger. You can read more from Keith on LTW here.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the 90's as a frontman with London noisemerchants HEADBUTT - spent the 80's in "Peel favourites" BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - drinks real ale, takes photo's has made a few short films. Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


  1. On March 7th 2014 Goldheart Assembly will be playing their debut album “Wolves and Thieves” in it’s entirety at the Lexington London.

    There…told you Keith xx


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