O+S



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O+S

Author: dryvetyme
03/19/2009 | Dryvetyme Onlyne | www.dryvetymeonlyne.com | Album Review
The difficulty, in my humble opinion, with crafting ambient electro-pop music is that the purveyors must be wary of their songs becoming too sleepy or dreamy. There is most assuredly a place for such tunes, because we will always have a need in our lives for proper chill-out music that can double as quality make-out music. But I don't want to unduly force the music of acts like Air and Goldfrapp into such an untoward and misunderstood classification such acts have a way of surprising people with starkly beautiful music that triumphs over being mere fodder for one's mood.

Looking to join such a pantheon is O+S, a mutually beneficial collaboration between Orenda Fink, formerly of Art In Manila and Azure Ray, and Scalpelist (of Remy Zero). Starting with a host of noises, samples, and assorted sounds collected by Fink over the course of two years of traveling, these two childhood friends merged their heads, hearts, and pop smarts to set about making music that honors their respective styles and the original sources of Fink's material. The end result is a self-titled debut full-length brimming with smooth, sultry, atmospheric pop that sounds much more organic, and natural in nature that one would expect from a contribution to the genre.

Fink's smoky, crooning voice calls to mind an obvious comparison to Alison Goldfrapp, but there are aspects of Cat Power's voice (at her most lucid) that arrive at key moments. At times, there are appropriately light elements from Portishead's Third that make their way into the mix, especially in the beats and rhythms supporting the tracks. To me, the deep, creeping, inky bass lines are the key component of much of this record, especially on my favorite cuts, "Permanent Scar" (a strutting, swaggering up-tempo selection), "Toreador," and "We Do What We Want To."

What works against O+S is that is slows a bit too much in its second half. Though the entire project displays a rather substantive depth of melancholy, songs like "Survive Love," Haunts," and "My Friend" could use a bit more teeth in their emotional range. Despite such reservations, I am more than pleased with this initial offering from O+S, as this is a fine example of tastefully lush music that is both arresting and meditative in its sonic temperament.
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