Before we get to this, let's get the facts out in the open. O+S
is the band alias of Orenda Fink (Azure Ray) and Scalpalist
(aka Cedric LaMoyne of Remy Zero fame). Orenda + Scalpalist.
that said, what this dynamic duo does musically is
far more interesting and beautiful than those basic facts. In fact,
for the first time in over a decade, I feel like the people who love
atmospheric dream pop have something about which to truly rejoice.
Recalling some moments of the infamous Cocteau Twins, but with
a much more earthy sound, more akin perhaps to bands like Area,
O+S' self-titled record is filled with a haunting sound, but avoids
the darkness with which much of the genre has been imbued. Building
upon a simple drum and bass sound, the album evolves through a myriad
of dreamy stages
the simplicity and groove of "New Life"
contains traces of early Depeche Mode, while "The Fox"
is nearly empty of everything except Fink's lovely voice backing up
Fink's Lovely voice and a simple two-note guitar line. "Toreador"
lays in some piano flavored by Beatles' ballads and builds
to a 4AD-style thickness before "We Do What We Want To"
releases a billowing pop sensibility upon the record. There is implicit
beauty in the gritty grooves of "Permanent Scar" and "Knowing
Animals", two songs that sound very different but contain the
same hints at something extremely sinister. The album ends with the
low beauty of "Lonely Ghosts", a track that perhaps fulfills
the promise of this musical pairing better than any other by taking
away and leaving only the most essential and beautiful of sounds
a panoply of wonderful splendor built around piano and voice. Perfection.
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