The Olivia Tremor Control: Black Foliage, Volume One

The Olivia Tremor Control: Black Foliage, Volume One

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Album: Black Foliage, Volume One
Label: Flydaddy

The casual, almost by-default genius of Athens, Georgia's Olivia Tremor Control lies in the group's refusal to restrict itself in the creative process. The most experimental and mind-bendingly weird band beneath the ever-widening Elephant 6 umbrella—erstwhile home of The Apples In Stereo, Elf Power, and Neutral Milk Hotel—The Olivia Tremor Control is a group defined by its creative, slyly shameless appropriation of cool indie-pop trends. Paragons of Brian Wilson worship, keen dissections of Beatles pop, home-recording tape-splice exercises, celebrations of psychedelic excess, orchestrated found sounds and shaped sonic detritus; soundtracks to films that don't exist: The Olivia Tremor Control's albums are all of these things, often simultaneously. With so many hipster-friendly techniques and references, is it any wonder that the group—the epitome of the see-what-sticks philosophy—has become a superstar of the lo-fi set? The band's second record, Black Foliage, Volume One, easily validates the hype that surrounded the loosely configured outfit's first release, the gleefully esoteric Dusk At Cubist Castle. Full of not-quite-familiar arrangements and you'd-swear-they-were-purloined specks of Sgt. Pepper, the album's many pleasures fly at the listener from every angle. Though "Hideway" is as close to perfect as they come, The Olivia Tremor Control, as befits a collective, is more about the whole than the individual track. That said, Black Foliage is probably best experienced alone in a room between a pair of headphones, eyes closed and ears open. Taken at once, its various indulgences can be a bit too much, which is why vinyl could very well be the best way to experience the four "sides" of the disc. The band members would most likely recommend some sort of hallucinogen or stimulant, as well, but that's actually part of Black Foliage's appeal: The Olivia Tremor Control takes the drugs so you don't have to. Slap that motto on a record sleeve and watch 'em sell, sell, sell!