Author: Jason Lymangrover
03/24/2009 | All Music | www.allmusic.com | Album Review
Like an update on Cocteau Twins or Mazzy Star, for their self-titled album O+S paint textural layers of sound beneath breathy vocals and freshen them up with big tight punchy beats. As far as the backing tracks go, many of these sound layers were created from field recordings originally sampled by vocalist Orenda Fink (the "O" of O+S) while traveling around the world. After Fink recruited her longtime friend Scalpelist (the "S"), the two started forming the foundation of O+S by transforming the soundbites of wind chimes, street noises, and children's chatter into loops. It's an atmospheric approach for an atmospheric record, emphasized by the blurred image on the album cover, and like many other albums with blurry images (Isn't Anything comes to mind, due to its similar design), there's an expected ethereal, shoegazey feel to the tracks. Songs whir and whoosh under the production of Michael Patterson (Beck, Ladytron), as thumping kicks, snares, and fuzz basslines keep the dream pop in time. "We Do What We Want To" finds Fink sentimentally reminiscing "I saw what I wanted to/You did what you needed to" in a sultry coo, while "Permanent Scar" ups the tempo into a School of Seven Bells by way of Kylie Minogue groove -- one that's too frosty and cinematic for dancing, but that's bouncy enough to warm up an otherwise haunting and chilly album like a bright ray of winter sunshine.
LP / CD / MP3