Reviews

Old Blood

Author: amber
09/01/2002 | Bornbackwards.com | www.bornbackwards.com | Album Review
I saw May Day open for The Good Life and Bright Eyes in Atlanta back in late May. I was really impressed that evening by the variety of instruments used to orchestrate the band's unique sound. The stage was full of all kinds of instruments like an accordion, banjo, cello, sitar, etc. I was happy I came along this road trip. The lead singer didn't sound anything like Conor Oberst (thank god), but was way to quiet in almost each song they played that night. I chalked this up to where I was standing in reference to the amps. I just assumed I would get around to hearing them recorded, and that their collective in-studio sound would blow me away and give me a chance to hear Ted Stevens more clearly. But, you know what, I have been listening to Old Blood over and over since it was given to me, and Ted's just a quiet guy. You can hear this by his pre-May Day singing in past Cursive and Lullaby for the Working Class songs.

First off, I have to give May Day credit for the physical nature of their album. The artwork is pretty interesting and open to interpretation. There's photos of cut fruit, vegetables, flowers and seeds all paired with what seems to be 'old blood.' The artwork, together with the song's subtitles, illustrate a cyclical, nature theme; a life, death, and perhaps rebirth of emotions. The songs themselves are very relaxing. The crafty and layered music is soothing and Stevens mostly whispers the words to his listener (except for the few times when he's yelling). I just wish he was more audible.

My favorites right now are "Cinquefoils" and "Confession." The former is the most upbeat of the album and the latter is sung by the warbling Conor Oberst, the music is exciting in a Spanish guitar way. This is pretty funny to me, because I'm not a Bright Eyes fan at all (I find the singing whiney, monotonous, and annoying). But, this song actually spices up a good deal of the album. Right before it, I got extremely tired of listening and that song made my ears perk. I'm giving a thumbs up to Conor, who'd a thought? "Come Home" is also very good, reminding me of the theme in a Pedro the Lion song ("Bad Diary Days"). The exception is in a line of the song that says: "the phone, it just doesn't ring." It's an overly wordy and melodramatic way to say 'no one's calling.' I guess you just have to hear it in context because it doesn't work. "Lullaby for the Sleeping Elephant" is another slightly awkward one; it starts off like silent night (yeah, the Christmas song). This album is full of extreme highs and lows, offering inconsistencies in its mood throughout. Overall, I think Old Blood IS a good album and deserves it's above average rating. But, I don't recommend listening to it for the first time on a long drive, because you'll either cry or fall asleep.

3.5 out of 5.
Old Blood

Old Blood

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