Gold Leaves, The Ornament

Becky Stoner

By Becky Stoner

on 08.16.11 in Reviews

Gold Leaves is the new project of Seattle-ite Grant Olsen, who previously served as half of the indie-folk duo Arthur & Yu. While Olsen wrote all the songs on the album, he collaborated with such talents as Jason Q. of Papercuts, Thao Nguyen and members of the Moondoggies. The album endured four years of rewrites, and what has emerged from this long period of incubation is full of doo-wop harmonies, melodic melancholy and warm-yet-ragged vocals. It treads ’60s throwback territory on tracks such as “Honeymoon” while throwing in beautiful and subtle orchestration as well as touches of psychedelia. “Cruel or Kind” is a standout, with its gorgeous and lush guitar arpeggios peppered with fuzz and reverb. Olsen’s lyrics reflect the dissonance you hear on the track with lines like, “If I am just what’s in my mind/ I am both cruel and kind.” These wistful songs have drawn comparisons to Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold and Scott Walker, but Olsen has proven that he is a singer-songwriter with the talent to bring a new and intriguing sound to his retro and folksy aesthetic.