9 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After a series of personal travails, Grant Olsen makes his solo bow with the mysterious yet surprisingly accessible The Ornament, released under the moniker Gold Leaves. As half of the duo Arthur & Yu, this Seattle-based singer/songwriter has become known for folk-styled acoustic tunes in the ‘60s bohemian tradition. The Ornament takes this approach to the outskirts of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, wrapping Olsen’s resonant, regret-tinged vocals in skeins of guitars and keyboards, then bathing them with cascades of echo. The results bear resemblance to M. Ward or the weirder aspects of Fleet Foxes, though these songs display their own special idiosyncrasies. Tracks like “Futures” and “Hard Feelings” have the genial lope of vintage country filtered through a psychedelic prism; “Honeymoon” is more exalted and meditative, suggested of sunrises at hippie communes. Two tracks especially stand out: “Cruel & Kind,” a dreamy character sketch with an especially poignant melody, and the title number, matching elemental imagery to rumbling percussion and ghostly organ.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After a series of personal travails, Grant Olsen makes his solo bow with the mysterious yet surprisingly accessible The Ornament, released under the moniker Gold Leaves. As half of the duo Arthur & Yu, this Seattle-based singer/songwriter has become known for folk-styled acoustic tunes in the ‘60s bohemian tradition. The Ornament takes this approach to the outskirts of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, wrapping Olsen’s resonant, regret-tinged vocals in skeins of guitars and keyboards, then bathing them with cascades of echo. The results bear resemblance to M. Ward or the weirder aspects of Fleet Foxes, though these songs display their own special idiosyncrasies. Tracks like “Futures” and “Hard Feelings” have the genial lope of vintage country filtered through a psychedelic prism; “Honeymoon” is more exalted and meditative, suggested of sunrises at hippie communes. Two tracks especially stand out: “Cruel & Kind,” a dreamy character sketch with an especially poignant melody, and the title number, matching elemental imagery to rumbling percussion and ghostly organ.

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