The Electronic Dance Music Force That is Black Gold

Brooklyn’s Black Gold is made up of multi-instrumentalist Than Luu and vocalist and keyboardist Eric Ronick, a pair of cool cats who have already earned their “quality” credentials by touring with the backing bands of Ambulance Ltd, M.Ward, Panic At The Disco, Rachael Yamagata, The Hold Steady, Polysics, Scissor Sisters, and Jaguar Love. As their own band, the pair known as Black Gold are known for turning out slickly produced, driving electronica-tinged modern dance pop music.

The band has a wide array of musical inspirations from all eras of rock n roll music. “No style or genre is off limits. We get a real kick out of taking from different artists, different periods, and putting our spin on it. Somehow we ended up with something cohesive and that sounds, undeniably, like us,” says Ronick.

“[Black Gold’s sound is] breathlessly experimental…nearly every song is a potential single begging for an extended dance edit,” raves “Spin” magazine.

Black Gold’s debut album is 2009’s Rush. Meanwhile, they’ve already had a big-selling electronic dance single with “Detroit (Shark Attack Remix),” which has also been released on a limited edition 7″ vinyl record (with a B-side of “The Picture Show”). On Rush, you’ll hear cuts that invoke T-Rex, Satie, Chic, Michael Jackson (when he was R&B), David Bowie, the Brothers Gibb, and The Band. As Ronick said, no style or genre is off limits to him and Luu.

“Detroit” in fact kicks off the Rush album. Listeners will find electronica dance beats that flow in the spaces in between some soulful singing and keyboard work. Then comes “Plans & Reveries” which is a showcase of Ronick’s twin talents of singing and keyboard (here, piano) playing. It seems that Ronick is the pop-mind who knows how to write hooks and sing at an emotionally evocative level that’s a cut above the rest of today’s mediocre vocalists, while Luu knows how to give you the beat and highlight the hooks with musical textures that give the music depth and staying power.

Eventually the album gets to “What You Did” and here it kicks into high gear. The beat is fast and the tasty guitars churn along with the David Rosenthal-like keyboards even as some Stevie Wonder funk-era synths swirl like angry ocean waves in the background. This is a song of the bitterness of a man finding his lover in bed with another, and Ronick’s vocals are at their very best telling you like it is. Black Gold’s Rush is so unique in its modern UK pop mixed with super-eclecticism that Ronick is even given a six-and-a-half minute place to shine on the piano instrumental called “Canyon.”

Look for Black Gold to be a force for some time to come.