Part of the so-called quietcore movement in Britain, where folk meets pop. The Optimist is by turns delicate, impassioned, wistful, and androgynous. The lyrics come at the listener indirectly, quite a few of them refer to relationships in an angsty manner, and there are oblique ecological and anti-corporate references. It's as if After the Gold Rush (with its silver space ships) and the films The Man Who Fell to Earth and Bladerunner have all been put in a blender. Maybe this belies Ollie Knights' film studies background, or it's alien(ation) fallout from Radiohead. The standout track's are "The Door," which is infused with the sound of "Breathe" by Pink Floyd; "State of Things"; and "Mind Over Money." Elsewhere, "By TV Light" has the atmosphere of a sozzled aftermath, and "The Road" has some tasty slide work and a raga-like guitar motif. After repeat plays, the meanings of many of the songs are still a little obscure, but the feeling definitely grows. There seem to be traces of earthlings here and there – is that the spectral presence of the renowned Homosapien Paul Simon? Despite the acoustic setting this is almost as weird and original as Mercury Rev or early Captain Beefheart. File under: I'm not sure what's going on here, but it's interesting.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Joseph