Release Date: Aug 20, 2013
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
The two watches on the sleeve represent the one-year period Fred Nicolaus spent recording his solo debut album as Golden Suits – one bought at the start, one at the end. Since Daniel Rossen switched his focus from their joint project Department Of Eagles to join Grizzly Bear in 2004, Nicolaus has played the dutiful wallflower, until re-emerging with this alt.folk wonder. Crunching rhythms, subtle brass, and tunes as intoxicating as a blood transfusion from Pete Doherty combine as he tells the tale of a disastrous year full of rat infestations, romantic strife and weight loss.
Department of Eagles co-founder Fred Nicolaus had a rough time prior to the release of his first outing under the Golden Suits moniker. A bad breakup and a rat-fueled adventure in apartment relocation led to some lifestyle changes and a newfound obsession with the late tortured novelist with a penchant for chronicling the secret lives of suburbia, John Cheever, from whom Nicolaus gleaned the name for his new project. The resulting ten-track collection of songs utilizes some of DOE's quirks, especially of the Van Dyke Parks, Harry Nilsson, and Randy Newman varieties, but Golden Suits owes more to his avian partner in crime Daniel Rossen's meal-ticket band Grizzly Bear than it does anything else.
It can be easy to forget that Department of Eagles is not just the baby of Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen. The knowledge gap becomes all the more understandable when certain outlets actually - and rather cruelly - seem to suggest just that. Starter for ten: there were two men behind 2008’s immensely underrated acid-folk gem In Ear Park. Fred Nicolaus is the fork to Rossen’s knife.
Golden Suits is the solo project of Fred Nicolaus, who, along with Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, makes up the acclaimed indie pop outfit Department Of Eagles. Nicolaus endured a tumultuous period in the year ahead of the release of this, his first full-length release under the Golden Suits name. He went through a painful relationship break-up, a rat infestation in his flat, financial troubles, a trip to Germany to research the death of his grandfather in World War Two and (perhaps happily, perhaps not) extreme weight loss.
Golden Suits, the new project from Department of Eagles' Fred Nicolaus, takes its name from the last line in John Cheever's "The Country Husband." It's the story of a man who, after surviving a plane crash no one in his life seems to care much about, rapidly comes unmoored from the things he's come to know. His wife leaves him, he acts up in front of friends and neighbors, he falls for the underaged babysitter. "Country Husband" examines the intersection of our public and private selves, about the things we hold back to make it through the day.
Golden SuitsGolden Suits(Yep Roc)Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Fans of Department of Eagles and Grizzly Bear might recognize Fred Nicolaus’ name, but the sound of his new project, Golden Suits, may come as a surprise. Pretty and understated, the self-titled solo debut isn’t exactly spare, with ace contributions from Grizzly Bear’s Chris Bear and Chris Taylor, Nicolaus’ old bandmate Daniel Rossen, and a host of other friends, but it’s a far cry from D of E’s layered, off-kilter vintage pop. The warm, clean production is a well-deserved spotlight for Nicolaus’ voice, which compares favorably to Doug Martsch and Ben Gibbard without imitating either.