Like a Wes Anderson film set in the Sooner State or Belle & Sebastian scoring a Western, there’s something almost delightfully twee about the whole collection. It’s less plain-sweeping big and more playfully contained. It’s a story told while looking out the bedroom window at the wilderness outside, not while swallowed in the thick of it.
Ancestral Ghosts is a pretty, picturesque little chronicle, too. The peppy “Growing Old,” “Petroleum Rodeo” and “Love Everyone” are pleasant little twang pop takes that pitter and patter with just enough energy to feel dreamy but awake all the same.
It’s an extremely easygoing record (almost to a fault), but OCF drafts up just enough edge at key points. The bristled folk-rock riff that anchors the shaggy “Buffalo,” while the grand buildup to “Time Alone” and the Police-divined guitar delays of “Living in the Snow” are a treat, especially when woven into the traditional touchstones with which Oklahoma Cloud Factory builds the track up.
Those moments are vital to Ancestral Ghosts, which can hedge toward cyclical — especially with its climax, the adventurous “Harvest Season,” coming right at the top — but it’s a small price to pay for a consistently engaging set of songs begging for smiles. — Joshua Boydston