O+S



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O+S

Author: Ted Chase
04/08/2009 | Qromag | www.qromag.com | Album Review
Songstress Orenda Fink's time in Azure Ray brought her from her native Birmingham, Alabama to Omaha, Nebraska's Saddle Creek Records (Bright Eyes, Cursive, Land of Talk), but when invited to do an artist residency by the Bernis Center of Contemporary Arts, she ended up drawing on a friend from back home, Cedric LeMoyne (a.k.a. Scalpelist, bassist for now-defunct indie-rock outfit Remy Zero, best known for providing the theme song to
O+S : O+S
Smallville). Combined as 'O+S', their self-titled debut is a beautiful slice of orchestration and minimalism.

While both 'O' and 'S' hail from indie & pop, O+S is a sad and haunting record that showcases Fink's pipes and LeMoyne's instrumentation. Fink's voice is clearly the primary weapon in the arsenal, but it its LeMoyne's backing sounds that vary up the record, from the epic empty room chill of opener "New Life" to the wandering walk finale of "Lonely Ghosts". And while Fink stays steady throughout, it is with LeMoyne's work that the tracks of O+S rise and fall: when he slips, such as on the repetitive, uninventive beats of "Permanent Scar", or the too slow & choral effects on "Survive Love", O+S suffers. And when he takes more of a backseat on stripped songs like the woods-y "The Fox" and the simple press "Haunts", the results are a little too obvious.

But when LeMoyne's work excels, O+S becomes something more than the sum of its parts. That is most notable on the haunting pieces, like "New Life" and especially on the ominous subway scare, "Knowing Animals", but there's also a brightening with "Toreador" and an indietronic wash behind "We Do What We Want To" and "My Friend". A beautiful chill more associated with Continental Europe than Middle America, O+S adds up nicely.
O+S

O+S

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