“I think this band will be hugely influential,” suggested Billy Bragg during the judging sessions for this year’s Uncut Music Award. “In the next couple of years we’ll be hearing young bands lifting the tensions and the rhythms of Tinariwen.”

“I think this band will be hugely influential,” suggested Billy Bragg during the judging sessions for this year’s Uncut Music Award. “In the next couple of years we’ll be hearing young bands lifting the tensions and the rhythms of Tinariwen.”

Rash prophecy, maybe? Well, it took about a week. Just the other day, the debut album from Fool’s Gold arrived, and when “Ha Dvash” began rolling, all orbital twang, syncopated handclaps and chants, Bragg seemed to have been proved right. A sprawling collective of LA hipsters were, it seemed, making a pretty decent fist of playing Touareg.

Not necessarily what you’d expect from a bunch who apparently include deep in their ranks the ex-drummer of We Are Scientists, plus Orpheo McCord, the drummer who figured in that brief, weird-even-by-MarkESmith’s-standards, Transatlantic configuration of The Fall a few years ago.

But Fool’s Gold, helmed by a singer/bassist called Luke Top and a superb guitarist called Lewis Pesacov, manage to pull it off, along with a few more off-the-peg African music selections, on this very lively, self-titled debut. When the opening track, “Surprise Hotel”, drifted in from the NME office next door last week, we initially thought it may be the new Vampire Weekend album. But actually, “Surprise Hotel”, not least thanks to Top’s quizzical drawl, is closer to the zinging ersatz hi-life of Talking Heads circa “Naked”, maybe “Nothing But Flowers” in particular.

After that, Fool’s Gold zips fairly brazenly, but effectively, through a variety of styles that seem familiar even to an African music dilettante like myself. So “Nadine” co-opts the svelte Addis big band horns and eastern scales familiar from the Éthiopiques comps, while “Night Dancing” and “Momentary Shelter” have the frantic, ringing percolations of Konono No 1, albeit re-scored for different instruments (see also Vampire Weekend’s “Horchata”), plus some galloping Africa ’70 horns on the former.

There’s a sense that, unlike Vampire Weekend, influences are being regurgitated rather than fully digested, and doubtless “Fool’s Gold” will be seen as a purist’s nightmare, a hipster appropriation, or whatever. Nevertheless, it succeeds: here’s a band with a certain ricocheting virtuosity, and a critical understanding of the exuberant possibilities presented by these musics.