Posted: January 15th, 2009 by Andrew Stevens
On ODAWAS’ third Jagjaguwar release “The Blue Depths,” due Feb. 17 (Feb. 16 in the UK), the Berkeley, CA-via-Chicago band makes a warmer, more sensual turn in sound – leaning heavier on its cinematic influences. Recorded during one of the worst Chicago winters in three decades, the mood of the album seems to foretell of Odawas’ recent relocation to Berkeley’s more lush, coastal environment. It’s as if the band warmed itself with blankets of synth and soft, bionic heartbeats.
At first glimpse of the album art – details from Helen Maurene Cooper’s Birds Of Appetite series – it becomes apparent that a certain surreal quality will mark the contents within The Blue Depths. A sense of longing and desire is buried within the dizzying layers. Odawas heighten the more subtle components of previous efforts, unashamedly giving into their love of Vangelis’ romanticism, Eric Serra’s dusky mysticism, and the sweeping, Southwestern strings of Jack Nitzsche. They demonstrate their mastery of nudging to the edge of the over the top with enchanting results.
The Blue Depths is an album for warmer places, a balmy haze habitat for headphone meanderings. This is a dream world where Neil Young and Jimmy Webb float in the reverb-saturated summer breeze. The solemn harmonies of “Moonlight/Twilight” drift between sheets of stirring bowed bass murmur as shimmering guitar notes ebb and flow underneath. Bursts of yearning harmonica arc over ethereal soundscapes in “The Case Of The Great Irish Elk.” The jubilant piano of “Harmless Lover’s Discourse” gives way to the most startling pop moment of the album, a soaring bed of synth propelled by a driving bass line and vibrant rhythms.
Pulses of light extend towards the murky crevasse of the subconscious: these depths never looked so enticing. – Joel Beeman
A free MP3 download of “Harmless Lover’s Discourse” can be obtained HERE.
My Old Kentucky Blog recently featured “The Blue Depths” in its Under the Radar section, stating that with the new album Odawas has “created some of the most beautiful music you’re likely to hear all year.” MOKB featured “Harmless Lover’s Discourse,” as well as a 2007 demo of lead track “The Case of the Great Irish Elk.” See what MOKB had to say about the record HERE
In the weeks surrounding the release, Odawas will perform at San Francisiso’s Noise Pop Festival, and appear on Seattle’s KEXP for a remote broadcast performance and interview.
The Case of the Great Irish Elk
Swan Song for the Humpback
Our Gentle Life Together
The Sound of Lies
Secrets of the Fall
Harmless Lover’s Discourse
Boy in the Yard