Saddle Creek | Orenda Fink | Reviews


Invisible Ones

09/27/2005 | | | Album Review
Another generous offering from the underground that will fall through the cracks to hopefully find a home in years to come. Orenda Fink's debut solo album (half of Azure Ray with Maria Taylor who coincidentally has a solo album out now) darts around looking for somewhere to land, musically, and in the end only finds that precious space between your ears. Neither pop, rock, folk, world music, indie, goth, whilst all and none of the above, Invisible Ones is draped in black and white images that underpin the nature of this project.

Like Kendra Smith (whose monochrome spidery compositions are not an unfair reference), Fink's collection somehow evokes a pre-Christian world of sirens. It's an old trick that goes back centuries; the hint of sexual and spiritual rolled into the female form. They didn't burn witches for any other reason, did they? It was always rumours of cavorting naked in the forest at night. The way Fink has been recorded, you can hear her saliva on the softest moments, her tongue flick her teeth as she repeatedly sings "just let your body do the rest", I can smell a pyre on the horizon.

From the backing of Dirty South, the part McClusky/Albini drive of Bloodline and through to the Dead Can Dance (sans widescreen bombast) referencing on Les Invisibles, Invisible Ones never settles for the safety of gothic folk. Which is essentially where it could be (lazily) filed. The latter track features members of Haitian group Troupe Mandacal and is surely the centrepiece. Simple circular guitar picking, upright bass and flute, and that haunted chorus hard to believe it comes from mid-west America. But that's just the kinda face-painting Easter Island of an album we have here. Fink is obviously keen to subvert the cardiganed indie pop preconceptions of a Saddle Creek disc. Just as Easter Island is about to get a casino on it to encourage tourism.

Invisible Ones is plagued with an extensive roll call of underground luminaries from bands such as Now It's Overheard, The Faint, TV On The Radio, Antibalas, Rilo Kiley, Drive-By Truckers, Mayday and Bright Eyes. But in the scheme of this ghostly, spiritual disc their contributions are little more than two cents. Orenda Fink reveals herself to be neither a witch nor a siren nor a religiously cloaked pole dancer. But her recent trips to Cambodia, Hiati and India have alerted her to the fact that sometimes you gotta look outside your own shallow problems to make great art. Let her low budget Dead Can Dance headtrip become yours. One that will go with you as you age and dust up those hedonistic memories of youth. Even if it may be a touch too esoteric for your average Death Cab For Cutie fan.
Invisible Ones

Invisible Ones

CD / MP3