O+S



Reviews

O+S

Author: Jeremy Pair
04/15/2009 | Stereo Subversion | www.stereosubversion.com | Album Review
A Birmingham, Alabama art organization used to throw a Halloween masquerade every year, or maybe they still do. It took place under the viaduct downtown, cold as hell but the coolest thing in town on that night. In 1999, my last Halloween in the Heart of Dixie before relocating to L.A., I was struck by the band that was playing as I walked upon the scene, a few girls in nurses costumes if I remember correctly and I think the drummer was a Storm Trooper or maybe he was God. The band was called Little Red Rocket, a tight, tough pop-melodic female fronted band. Co-fronting the band was Orenda Fink and when I left Birmingham, even though Little Red Rocket was good, I thought I would never hear of any of them again. Wrong.

O+S equals Orenda Fink and Scalpelist (Cedric LeMoyne of Remy Zero), both are Birmingham natives and long-time friends. O+S is their collaboration with an output of ethereal, down-tempo lamentations and confessions. Imagine the mood and atmosphere of old Cowboy Junkies without the Cowboy and with post-shoegazer soundscapes brewing below the showcased vocals of Fink. Fink, like Margo Timmins, has that soothing aching alto voice that just sinks your heart like an enemy warship.

Getting KCRW in Los Angeles to latch onto you is always a good thing and O+S has indeed done that evidenced by being in rotation and performing live on Morning Becomes Eclectic; it was my first place to hear them. "Permanent Scar" is the only song one could consider to be upbeat or poppy or anything of the sort. Artists that put out these slow albums are usually in jeopardy of making one long song that loses interest. However, the songwriting combines interesting changes with compelling lyrics; the album displays stamina throughout its ten tracks.

The highlight comes in the hump of the album, track 5, "We Do What We Want To." Fink laments for what might have been, "I saw what I wanted to and you did what you needed to." The song sounds of closure, things coming to an end; it sounds cinematic as in a song that plays as the credits roll after realizing the characters were not going to live happily ever after. At times, like on "Haunts," the electronic contributions to the album become a bit stale. While being spare is essential to the album the beats could be more rhythmic without compromising the mood of the record.

What makes O+S a nice album is its strong familiarity to something yet it's the something that's ambiguous and a mystery.
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