Fool’s Gold’s Lewis Pesacov is probably best known for his production work on Best Coast’s garage-pop breakthrough Crazy For You, but with Leave No Trace, the musician makes a compelling case for his day job. In a bid for accessibility, the L.A. band’s sophomore album strips away some of the more obtuse qualities of its 2009 debut: Singer Luke Top eschews Hebrew for English, while Pesacov’s guitar grooves draw as much on Johnny Marr as they do African axe-men.
Top is a deep-voiced singer whose generous vibrato leaves him between a fun-loving Morrissey and a significantly less pretentious Brandon Boyd; he handles English well enough, but the momentary return to Hebrew on “Tel Aviv” is a reminder of the sharpness of his native tongue. It’s little matter; the music’s the star on this album, driven by the lead guitar licks that dot the songs like Perseid meteors, and a blend of busy percussion and occasional horn punctuation. The group is at its frantic best on breathless efforts such as “Wild Window” and the synth-aided “Street Clothes,” while the bouncing “Bark and Bite” could soundtrack a summer block party anywhere from Olvera Street to Williamsburg – no passport required.