Friday, December 28, 2007

Reviews:: Orillia Opry Lighthouse for Stragglers' Eyes

Trying to unearth a young band's influences for the sake of a review is kind of a double edged sword. You want to find those subtle nods that show an appreciation of music (and more importantly the potential for the band to grow into something fantastic), but you never want a band to sound too derivative. Orillia Opry is a fantastic example of why you never want to look too hard.

This Montreal folk duo - Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter - have finished up with their second release and it's gaining well deserved credit. The record should push help them move from being "a band with potential" into the spotlight. The vocal interplay seems effortless, especially when Emma's vocals float above the mix, showing off an understanding of melody that bands would kill for, but instead, people seem focused on who they sound like.

Noble, admittedly, is influenced by Neil Young but you could say that about any Canadian musician who plays an acoustic. Every folk duo you hear opening a show samples from the same library, but for the most part those songs go unnoticed. You could try to type cast Orillia Opry, but the success of the project makes them note worthy. I take comfort in the familiar, I really do. Traditional folk music is like warm soup or a blanket when you are under the weather, and Noble and Baxter could easily write folk songs that draw you close, but this reaches past that.

They experiment with different styles and textures, refusing to stay in the simplistic mold we reviewers rely on. You could listen to the duo harmonize on Beacons On or I Am Just a Bug and be satisfied. The songs pop, but they push their own comfort level throughout this record (the jazzy nuances of You Should Tell Me So or the frantic guitars and build of Shadow Shadow) and the attention to detail is staggering at times.

Riverside 2, on the surface, is another strummed acoustic track but the dark cloud that encompasses the song is something fresh and exciting. The summery electric riff that balances the aggressive strums, crashing drums and morbid lyrics (a death and discovery of a prostitute) stretch the limitations of the band in every direction. The song is creepy and enjoyable at the same time, and the rough breakdown that ends the song doesn't fit but works nicely.

But the band is best when Noble uses a biting narrative. I Lied is a terrific f&ck; you from a lover scorned. The cold, even tone of the song resonates more than screaming yourself hoarse in frustration. We are both a mess, flawed to our core, killing each other slowly. It's over, move on. Nothing can save this now.

MP3:: I Lied

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Posted at 1:18 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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