“Golden Suits is a lilting folk-pop record, deliberate as they come, swimming in sumptuous, sunlit arrangements.” – Pitchfork Magazine
“…tunes as intoxicating as a blood transfusion from Pete Doherty…” – NME
“…the subtle craft and heart that lies within these ten tracks is undeniably charming.” – Drowned In Sound
“…Nicolaus has crafted a truly engaging set of oddball pop songs that deftly blur the line between the convoluted lives of those who populate the pages of [John] Cheever’s evocative short stories and Nicolaus’ own triumphs and misfortunes.” – All Music
Golden Suits is Fred Nicolaus of the band Department of Eagles. He wrote or co-wrote with Daniel Rossen many of the group’s best known songs, including “No One Does it Like You,” “Teenagers,” “While We’re Young,” and “Herringbone.” Their last album, In Ear Park, was awarded “Best New Music” by Pitchfork Media and made the New York Times’ year-end top ten list.
Golden Suits is Nicolaus’ first project working alone. It was inspired by a strange year that saw him get chased out of an apartment by a rat infestation, go through a painful breakup, travel to Germany to learn about his grandfather’s death in WWII, go broke, and lose forty pounds. Throughout that chaotic time, he became obsessed with a book of short stories by the fiction writer John Cheever, and started writing songs that blended his own experiences with fragments from the book (the name “Golden Suits” is a reference to the final line of a Cheever story). The result is a collection of ten songs that combine nostalgia, sentimentality, skewed references to a book about suburban marriage in the 1950s, personal confessions and abstract non-sequitors that take a shot at the sublime.
Musically, the songs follow the thread of Department of Eagles’ swervy take on classic pop in the vein of Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Paul Simon, and Lennon and McCartney solo. Nicolaus, who generally wrote the simpler, poppier material in DoE, followed the mold of “take a straightforward, direct song and play with it until there’s something interesting going on.” Working outside of the band was a chance to indulge in production ideas that wouldn’t have flown within it, like the Graceland-inspired one-two beat and female vocals on “Swimming in ’99″ or the unadorned piano ballad feel for “Restaurant Song.”