Release Date: May 19, 2015
Record label: Paper Bag
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Following 2010's No Ghost and its accompanying remix collection Make the Least of the Day: No Ghost Reinterpreted, Canadian indie-folk ensemble the Acorn took a hiatus as its members dispersed throughout the nation and primary singer/songwriter/guitarist Rolf Klausener concentrated on electronic side project Silkken Laumann. Vieux Loup, the Acorn's first release in five years, consists of songs Klausener wrote during that time period, and finds the project shifting to a sparser, more electronic-tinged sound. The album's eight songs are framed by intimate acoustic guitar and vocals, and feature subtle production tricks and textures.
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.
For those unfamiliar, The Acorn is the celebrated guise of Canadian singer-songwriter Rolf Klausener and his dispersed band of come-and-go 'co-conspirators'. Save for a delightful acoustic performance at End of the Road in 2012 and some other odds and ends, the last five years have been more or less an unofficial hiatus for The Acorn moniker. Before that, 2010 saw Klausener riding high on the back of his No Ghost album, a record of stark and confident acoustic folk that refined the biographical lyricism that had made Glory Hope Mountain such a rousing listen.
It’s a tale as old as time itself: right as a well-regarded group of Underground Renown™ makes moves towards the mainstream, they decide to go on hiatus, and the legacy of these once-promising wonders becomes less a monument than it does a hazy mist. We’ve all heard it and seen this happen too many times, which is why we now have the learned behavior of simply taking the spoils and quietly moving on to the Next Great Whatever. For Rolf Klausener, though, that very cliché became his life.