If indie folk pop is what you want, then ask and you shall receive. Unfortunately, ‘The Golden Section’ seems to only tease bouncing away from the basics of the genre – the album is gentle, it’s chirpy, it’s instrumentally sound, but while it isn’t heavily clichéd, it’s hardly unique either. ‘Spanish Steps’ is nice and bubbly, with a slight twee influence, but the tracks that precede it, ‘Remembered Day’ and ‘Known World’ just rest on their standard, solemn sound, tiptoeing around the great ideals and ideas of folk game-changers without adding anything purposeful.
The production on ‘The Golden Section’ is fine when it sounds as natural as possible. You get that lovely feeling of pure whimsy, of woodland animals gathering around you as you play your song. And they’re all there, the badger, the fox, even the hedgehog. Then there are songs like ‘Take Me to Water’, which is fairly nice compositionally and vocally, but the echo-heavy acoustic guitar sound takes away the authenticity the listener will feel should be present. It sounds more manufactured than it should, causing the woodland animals to find something else to do.
Still, the album rolls along and there are a few more sweet tunes. ‘Rowan and Rose’ is fairly unique; it features a lot of the main recurring traits of the record, but a lot of the instrumental is hoisted above a strange, rolling percussion track. ‘Counting Ships’ involves a little more varied instrumentation, with pianos and flutes galore, the kind of nice, breathy flutes you might hear on ‘Astral Weeks’ by Van Morrison…or a world music-style busker.
‘The Golden Section’ is a bright album, and a hopeful first from Kodiak Island, but here’s hoping the foundation they’ve laid out here will be used as platform for a few more layers of creativity in the future. It’s fine, just not unusual enough.
‘The Golden Section’ is out now via Musical Bear ‘Records’