The Acorn

Vieux Loup

The AcornVieux Loup
7
Though frenetic Ottawa folkie Rolf Klausener hasn't released an album as the Acorn since 2010's No Ghost, he's kept himself busy through side projects and founding the Arboretum Festival; the Acorn's latest, Vieux Loup, finds Klausener channelling these other projects into a record that feeds on folk, pop and electronica for an eclectic yet focused listen.
 
Where No Ghost juggled between Animal Collective-like mania and Grizzly Bear-esque harmonies, Vieux Loup is a subtler, more restrained effort that never forgets its folk roots but also doesn't fear straying into electronic territory. He does so on lead single "Influence," a track most definitely influenced by Klausener's other project, Silkken Laumann.
 
It's the record's least experimental tracks are its strongest, though; "Palm Springs" is a dizzying, thumping rock track with soaring choruses, while the vocal duet between Klausener and a female vocalist on "Dominion" sends the album toward a satisfying, folksy conclusion. Certainly, it's not worth it to take risks, but the ones taken on Vieux Loup are often ambient palate cleansers; the alternation between the poppier, more straightforward tracks and the less energetic ones keeps a steady, reliable pace.
 
Vieux Loup strikes a delicate balance between soft folk and grooving rock, with shades of early Broken Social Scene — the sparse, shuffling instrumentals and vocal similarities to that band's Kevin Drew  — but stripped of the bombast. Vieux Loup is an intriguing, layered record. (Paper Bag)
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