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Blankets! - EP

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Album Review

After 2007's expansive, complex concept album Glory Hope Mountain brought the Acorn to a higher level of critical and commercial notice, especially in their native Canada, the Ottawa band's new fans started to venture backwards, discovering previous releases like 2005's Blankets!. Far more casual and low-key than the epic Glory Hope Mountain — the first sound one hears is singer/songwriter Rolf Klausener clearing his throat! — Blankets! is nevertheless an important transitional release in the band's catalog. The Acorn's first album, 2004's The Pink Ghosts, was basically a one-man band solo project by Klausener in a semi-electronic, partially instrumental vein, but Blankets! features a full band and a near-total change in musical direction, to an almost entirely acoustic brand of indie folk that dispenses with the beats and loops of The Pink Ghosts, as well as its tranquil instrumental interlude tracks. However, the world music influences and widescreen scope of Glory Hope Mountain are not yet in evidence, which leaves Blankets! a less unique proposition. The songs are uniformly solid, particularly the skeletal, mournful closing track "Books" and the spirited opener "Plates and Saucers," which sounds not unlike a stripped down version of the Arcade Fire and includes an instrumental break featuring spoons clattering on crockery. Throughout, Klausener's emotionally complex (but not emo) lyrics, which would blossom in full on the explicitly personal Glory Hope Mountain, are already notable. But in some ways, Blankets! might be just a hair too restrained for its own good, with its delicate acoustic arrangements sounding enough like any number of other post-Elliott Smith indie rockers to really stand out.

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Canada became a hotbed for indie rock in the early 2000s, with multiple bands finding their footing in cities like Montreal and Ottawa before spreading their music to other areas. The Acorn differentiated itself from the pack by using acoustic instruments and conceptual themes, creating a sound that owed as much to experimental folk as rock & roll. Formed by songwriter Rolf Klausener as a one-man recording project in 2002, the Acorn released debut full-length The Pink Ghosts on Kelp Records in...
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Blankets! - EP, The Acorn
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