Olden Yolk – Living Theatre review

Secret Meeting score: 77

by Philip Moss

New York based Olden Yolk’s sophomore record is a patchwork of quirky folk, shimmering harmonies, off-kilter guitars and tall tales from small towns – where songwriters, Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer, take turns on lead vocal duties across its eclectic ten tracks.

Opener, 240 D is led by Butler and recalls Fleet Foxes’ debut – as its weft bass line and Ringo drums make it feel of another time. Shaffer’s entrance on Blue Paradigm splutters and spurts with the same rhythms that were aplenty on Cate Le Bon’s Crab Day. While single, Cotton & Cane sees the pair’s voices come together to great effect – recalling the jangle pop harmonies of Real Estate on the most immediate cut here.

The second half of the LP carries on where the first left off: Violent Days is the moodiest moment, but the shimmering Every Ark, and arguably the collection’s best song, Grand Palais, let the light back in on an album that refuses to be pinpointed.

But all this talk of alternate voices and a barrel load of influences and styles is not to suggest that the record is diffuse of order or feel. Producer, Jarvis Haveniere of Woods, has done a fine job in channelling the pair’s varied nature, and it is testament to their songwriting that the record hangs together seamlessly.

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