Reviews

Oh Holy Fools

Author: matt schild
01/24/2001 | Aversion.com | www.aversion.com | Album Review
Omaha is quickly proving to be the mother lode of indie rockers, especially when it comes to the singer/songwriter variety. While bands like the Good Life and Bright Eyes (both O-Town natives) have established themselves as national-level songwriters, Saddle Creek unveils its latest indie rock poet on this split EP.

With a back-and-forth between indie rock's poet laureate Bright Eyes and the unknown Son, Ambulance, this EP gives singer/songwriter fans a dose of both ends of the spectrum. While the two show a slight variation in songwriting style-Son, Ambulance songs are considerably more poppy than the lyrical dirges set down by Bright Eyes-there's enough continuity between the bands' alternating tracks to make this record a solid listen throughout.

Though Bright Eyes comes off of one of last year's most heralded albums, Fevers and Mirrors (Saddle Creek), some of singer/guitarist Conor Oberst's momentum was lost with this record. Though there's still traces of the frantic emotional misery that drew raves on his previous work, there's also a new, softer side of Oberst that finds its way onto this record. Though "Kathy with a K's Song" finds the band looking at love without the teenage angst angle that Oberst displayed with such mastery on previous records. Other tracks, "Going for the Gold" and the ludicrously titled "Oh, You are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place" take on a bit more of the tortured-soul gleam the band's fans are more familiar with. Only with "No Lies, Just Love" does the band ever hit its stride as on its own releases.

Though the Bright Eyes tracks included on this album are a bit of a comedown after the band's past couple releases, Son, Ambulance still has a difficult time keeping up with Bright Eyes. Though the band features more polished arrangements-"The Invention of Beauty" is mere hairs away from being outright pop-and brings in wider thematic ideals that are more optimistic than Bright Eyes' songs, singer/guitarist Joe Knapp can't match Oberst's vision. While there's a couple mildly stirring songs ("Brown Park" and "Katie Come True") that take an awe-shucks look at love, Son, Ambulance doesn't strike with enough emotional vigor to really rattle the heartstrings. It's nonetheless a respectable showing for
the new act.
Oh Holy Fools

Oh Holy Fools

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