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If you’ve ever thought that the overall aesthetic of Fleet Foxes is a little too pastoral and have hoped for Robin Pecknold to dive in to the quickly crowding pool of artists revisiting the 1960s pop re-creationist thing, then today’s featured track just might scratch your itch. “The Ornament,” off of Gold Leaves‘ forthcoming full-length record, sounds for all the world like the lead singer of Fleet Foxes fronting a Walkmen tribute band. All of the touchstones are present – effected guitars: check. The rumbling floor toms and tinkling tambourines that recall Old Man Spector’s Wall of Sound: check. The low-fi chamber-pop flourishes: check. The slight reverb on the vocals and the subtle dipping harmonies: check.
Although we may be quickly reaching the saturation point regarding this particular throwback aesthetic, Grant Olsen, the man at the helm of Gold Leaves, puts enough of his heart into this track to make it interesting. What’s more, the lyrics belie a maturity that pulls listeners in, unfolding in colors and in tones rather than in absolutes or as a linear narrative. Sung in that beautiful and altogether unsophisticated style that makes the Pecknold comparison a compliment, Grant Olsen may just rise above the roil of the ’60s throwback crowd to settle proudly above the din of hype. It will be interesting to hear the rest of this record, on which he is joined by Thao Nguyen and members of The Papercuts and The Moondoggies, to see if his vision and interpretation of these Sounds of Yore can stake a claim in a crowded field.