Fred Nicolaus is one half of the folk-pop duo Department Of Eagles alongside Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, and back in 2013 he released his self-titled debut album as Golden Suits. Today he’s back with an absolutely sublime new single. Perfectly suited to soundtrack inspirational trailers for live action fantasy movies, “Is It Wrong” takes the anthemic nerve of Arcade Fire and gives it a much needed back massage by the ocean. “First you have to prove it to yourself/ Then you have to prove it to everybody else/ How wrong they are,” Nicolaus affirms in a loose drawl over revving acoustic guitar strums before building to a bright chorus of declarative love. Nicolaus offers a worldview so resoundingly positive, anchored by the sentiment of “Getting older kiss by kiss” and the belief that “Everything will be white light,” that it could crack a smile in the most stubborn cynic. Here’s what he had to say about the song:
I’ve spent so much time writing restrained mid-tempo folky ballads that I started to get bored of tiptoeing around the margins of good taste–I wanted to write a song that was big and direct and could potentially faceplant. Like a fastball-down-the-middle-of-the-plate, Bruce-Springsteen-waving-an-American-flag-on-a-mountain type of song. When I started to fill in the lyrics on the verses, it stopped being about taste or boredom or Bruce Springsteen and started to feel like it meant something real to me. It’s silly to even write this out, because it’s in the chorus: but it’s about the agony/ecstasy of giving your love when you don’t know what you’ll get in return.