Sunday, October 2, 2011
Ohbijou- METAL MEETS Album Review ::: "an enchanting and lovely askew piece of musical art"
Ohbijou's Casey Mecija has a disarming voice. I mean this in a literal sense. I imagine that if she opened her mouth and began singing at the edge of some battlefield that the combatants would lay down their arms if only for a short time. There are a myriad of singers who can sing pretty well but not many have a voice that has something different and special. Mecija imbues her vocals with a sense of wide eyed wonder that conjures up Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Ohbijou's latest sonic adventure Metal Meets is a stirring string laden fairy tale of an album and, like most fairy tales, it paints both uplifting and dark imagery.
Heretofore Ohbijou has lived largely in the indie folk genre and while they have always mixed it up, Meets Metal puts them firmly on the fringes of psychedelic rock. Songs like "The Dreaming" with it's dramatic arc and dissonance could live side by side with the acidic Sargent Peppers Album and "Turquoise Lake" (one of my favorites on MM) has a dreamy bed, sultry bass line and evocative lyrics, "Don't you know I know"- and finally erupts into a full attack of sound that actually reminds me of Crystal Antlers (a bit).
"Echo Bay" creates a sense of urgency and movement. "Balikbayan" is beautiful and bittersweet drenched in the fondness for ones homeland, "the heavy freight... it carried the weight of a better life". Amidst the dreamy spaces, there is also fine a pop sensibility in songs like "Meet Metals" and "Niagara" which are probably the more mainstream songs (on MM). "Iron and Ore" is big and sweeping. I love the drum beat. This song is as solid as the metal metaphors that run though out it. I mentioned the dark under theme of many fairy tales and "Sligo" starts, "Left you in Sligo... hanging in a tree... swaying with dead bodies and rusted rosaries". The lyrics that ask more question than they answer float among percolating synths and pearly reverb washed guitars. This song is pretty mind bending but still builds to an uplifting conclusion.
I have only touched the surface of Ohbijou's Metal Meets. It is my new spacey love affair. All the songs are little masterpieces. It is an enchanting and lovely askew piece of musical art. I place it fondly next to Crystal Antlers Two Way Mirror as a dreamy companion piece.
You can stream Metal Meets here at Spinner.