Thursday, May 3, 2007

Reviews:: Oweihops Cinquefoil

Earlier in the year, I stumbled upon some great new artists courtesy of the Yerbird folk compilation. One of those artists was Oweihops – or to simplify the situation, the songwriting of Michael Metivier. I was blown away with his track, Sad Little Drunks, so when his 5-song EP Cinquefoil showed up in my mailbox, I was chomping at the bit to give it a listen.

As Shane mentioned earlier, in today’s highly consumable music environment, putting too many tracks into the mix is pointless. That’s why Metivier’s decision to keep this self-released EP to 5 strong songs was such a fantastic idea. The opening track – Who is this everybody – really sets the tone for the listener. The dusty, slow moving, Oldham influenced track relies on all the traditional elements you expect from a rootsy, folker. A lightly strummed acoustic, a pedal steel that is literally drenched with emotion, a collection of percussion instruments, and a unique voice with the charisma to draw you into his story.

But as the opening notes of This Morning I Drove Into a Cloud start, and funky notes of a harmonium are paired with a jangled guitar riff, you really start to appreciate Oweihops on another level. So many folk/Americana artists toil in understated riffs and textures to tell their story, but Metivier and his band fully embrace an addictive hook.

As a result, you really have to listen to realize that Metivier is a compelling story teller. His voice resonates in a Rocky Votolato tone, and he stays with the standard Americana themes of depression and love, but he tends to contrast his sorrows with a more uptempo, embraceable sound. All too often, when you are bombarded with an atmospheric, cloudy steel in the distance and simple brushed drums, you drift subconsciously into a sense of despair (which he does successfully on Sad Little Drunks), but with Metivier’s brand of songwriting, you really have to listen to expose those emotions. His lyrics are heavy – “forget-me-nots, we all forget, don't ever let them go” - but the riffs are so enjoyable you can appreciate the music on a more simple level. It’s only when you sit down and really try to take it all in you are hit with the understated melancholic themes he effortlessly delivers.

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day in Vancouver and as I drove home with Sadie Rice escaping gracefully from my speakers, I found myself losing interest in traffic patterns and simply enjoying the day. I’m not sure if you can give a musician a bigger compliment that that.

MP3:: This Morning I Drove into a Cloud

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Posted at 12:22 PM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 4:06 AM, Anonymous Dan Mohr did sayeth:

Hey there - thanks so much for the kind words. I produced and arranged Cinquefoil. One small thing - the 'funky' riff at the beginning of "This Morning I drove into a Cloud" is played on a Fender Rhodes stage piano, not a harmonium.

But again - thanks for the review. Shameless plug to follow - check out New Piety, a collaborative project between myself and Mr. Metivier, featuring many of the musicians who appear on Cinquefoil.


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