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Editor's Pick: Traffik Island's 'Nature Strip' is a stunning left turn from prodigious talent Zak Olsen

It's nothing like what Olsen has produced with ORB, Hierophants or The Frowning Clouds.

When prodigious Melbourne talent Zak Olsen emerged with his latest project Traffik Island, the music wise couldn’t have been criticised for thinking more garage-tinged goodness was on the way. Hierophants, Bonniwells and The Frowning Clouds all explored the rawest capabilities of the guitar while Olsen’s most radical venture, ORB, has taken such allure with music’s most popular instrument to a new level, sowing the agriculture that Black Sabbath had once cultivated with a psychedelic shade.

Now, Olsen is changing things up, introducing a greater buoyancy to his music. Traffik Island is psychedelic pop with country garnishes and courts Melbourne’s deep fascination with jangle-pop. Traffik Island’s debut single, ‘17’, came in December and Olsen has returned some months later with the project’s first full-length offering, Nature Strip. Replete with sunny instrumentals and vibrant lyricism, it’s a stunning left turn from the songwriter. 

The record delivers from head to toe and there isn’t an unequivocal centrepiece. ‘Looking Up’ is a live favourite and Traffik Island enthusiasts will be pleased to see it make its way onto record. Other highlights include opener ‘Bluish Pale’, ‘Free 2 Be Free’, ‘Queenspark’ and the wandering instrumental track ‘One Tenth of a Second’. For those not ready to bid summer farewell, this one’s for you.