April 1, 2008

Odawas - Raven And The White Night

Album: Raven And The White Night
Year: 2007
Genre:Ambient-folk,Experimental, Indie Rock

Following convention has never been a great concern for Odawas. Yes, there are parts of Raven and the White Night, their follow-up to 2005's Aether Eater, that border on verses and choruses, but generally the members of the band are more focused on and interested in arranging their various keyboards, guitars, and percussion (and the accompanying effects) into melancholy, distant songs that wander about like somnambulists: not directionless or lost, but without a clear idea of exactly where they're going. To create this feeling of gauziness, some of the pieces, like "Love Is... (The Only Weapon with Which I Got to Fight)," use elements of electronica -- drum machines and sampled voices -- amid the acoustic instrumentation, and sometimes, "Barnacles and Rustic Dreams," for example, there's even a rocky, distorted electric guitar section, but more frequently Odawas opt to keep things quiet, restrained, steel strings and gentle synthesized violins guiding everything warily along, forebodingly. Because there's still a great amount of tension in Raven and the White Night, despite the seeming calm that envelops it, a darkness underlying the swelling keys and airy arpeggios. "Getting to Another Plane" alludes to both Ennio Morricone and suicide, and the Neil Young-esque tonality of Michael Tapscott's voice in "Ice" slides nicely along with the wah-wah guitar whole notes and sullen harmonica like he's falling into partially frozen lake. Tapscott's lyrics aren't fantastic -- they vary between trying too hard and not trying at all, without seeming to ever find that hallowed middle ground -- but Odawas isn't about its words, anyway; it's about textures and layers and feeling, which is exactly what it's best at, and exactly what the album provides, a hauntingly beautiful psychedelic folk-inspired trip into memory and dreams and the other dangerous things that lead us around in our sleep. ~ Marisa Brown, All Music Guide


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