Traffik Island - Nature Strip (2019)

I’ve always wanted to write about the brilliant polymaths that Flightless Records has a knack of bringing to the public’s attention. The latest Pied Piper who signed onto the label goes by the name of ‘Traffik Island’, a moniker for Melbourne based artist Zak Olsen; lead singer and guitarist of ORB, and Hierophants. Made of dreamy grooves and extremely good tunes is his debut album ‘Nature Strip’, a rare psych-pop gem that celebrates a joyful union of everything from Pipe-Eye to the Plastic Cloud and White Fence to the Beatles.

‘Bluish Pale’ was a perfect entry into this whimsical land of carefree glory and happy vacation days, a taste of what’s in store ahead. With laidback pedals and hazy choral progressions, ‘Free 2 Be Free’ forms the soundtrack for lazy stoner’s comfy den. ‘Looking Up’ has its own hippity-skippity element, a vital essence ubiquitous to the feel of this album. ‘Sunday Painter’ is a reluctant wake-up call from the kind of dream you never want to get up from, with so much said in so little time. Queens Park is the kind of 60s fever dream that your heart feels so close to, with fringes of Babe Rainbow sprinkled across and the warm exuberance that comes with it. The focal point on ’Mind You’ is the stripped down vocals (see Willoughby's Beach), with a melody so pure and mellow, it makes you forget the world isn’t fucked up for a minute.

‘17’ was my introduction to the artist, popping upon my YouTube feed one day, piquing up my interest with their laidback and lazy dollops of swinging rhythms. The track excels in all measures, with the twang of The Roaring 420s and the happy daze of Holy Wave. Then comes ‘One Tenth of a Second’ to zap you into a neon infused greenroom where otherworldly mushrooms are grown; an intergalactic symphony that you’ll find yourself lost in. ‘Ode to Everything’ is the artist grappling with Syd Barett-ian soundscapes, going deeper for a trip inside one’s head.

Selfless, joyful lands of brotherhood and friendship are explored through ‘Something Sweet’ before the tale of ‘Lazy Cat’ starts playing. As a closer to this Aesop’s-Fables-on-mushrooms album, Zak the Mad Hatter draws you deep into the rabbit hole, as he seals his place in your mind with whimsical ease.

Genre: Psych-pop, Alternative, Sunshine psych

Favorite Tracks: 17, One Tenth of a Second


'17' was the first track I listened to, which made me write this article.

'Free 2 Be Free' with its sunshine melody is sure to draw you in too.

While you're at it, check out 'Mind You'.

Support the artist at:

Keep on exploring, fellow alien!


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