Olden Yolk are a New York-based "dystopian folk" band led by Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer. On their debut album the duo are joined by drummer Dan Drohan plus guitarist Jesse DeFrancesco and there are contributions from multi-instrumentalist John Andrews and violinist Jake Falby.
Butler was part of the Boston psych-pop band Quilt before bonding with Shaffer over poetry and shared values. They officially became a collaborative entity after the release of a split-record with Weyes Blood in 2014. The album was recorded at Gary’s Electric in NYC by Jarvis Taveniere.
The couple's acoustic folk roots are suffused with hazy psychedelic pop and driving motorik rhythms with lyrics more tuned into abstract expressionism than social realism. This is an urban sound inspired more by graffitied walls than leafy glades.
Despite the smooth melodies, their songs frequently deal with themes of urban tension and terrorism or personal malaise. The first two tracks,Verdant and Cut To The Quick, were prompted by mass shootings in Paris and Miami respectively.
Vital Sign has a breezy 60s feel that carries through to the retro look of the video. The title track is an acknowledgement of the importance of collective values.
It's this focus on humanism that gives a warm hipster glow to the record and ensures there are more silver linings than clouds.