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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Heavy Wish
File 13 Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

August 8, 2005
There's a slow, narcotic sense of majesty to Odiorne's debut album; it seems to recapture a little of the madness that Mercury Rev has lost on their recent albums. Jimy Chambers - who left Rev to form Odiorne - has no interest in the noisy days of Boces or Rev's recent New Age hymns. For this we can be thankful, as those albums increasingly sound like attempts to keep up with the Flaming Lips' rush of ideas.

Rather, Heavy Wish evokes the darker moments of Chambers' two masterworks with his old band, on which Rev looked like they were going to balance the darkness of their early work with bona fide pop songs. Chambers, who wrote two of the band's best known singles ("Something for Joey" and "Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp") definitely seems to like the orchestration Rev once used, as it leaks into all of Odiorne's songs, especially "Sirocco (Heavy Wish)" and "One a Day." His guitar work is woozy and fits snugly into his arrangements, especially the staticky shag-carpet-underlying "Webs Without Maps," or when it bends into strange tones that increase the hallucinatory mood, recalling the mad, gorgeous "Joey."

Still, he should have thrown in a little bit of his other best-known song. "Stomp"'s psychedelic big beat was a revelatory tweak away from the Chemical Brothers or Propellerheads (it's probably the band's biggest hit in the UK), and would have livened up an album whose glacial pace settles into monotony on occasion. It doesn't help that sometimes this monotony is literal, as when "Sirocco (Heavy Wish)" is reprised as "Sirocco (Artery)," or the melody of "Kino" is echoed in the subsequent "Life Construction." The closest Chambers comes to a similar hook is the keyboards of "The Diver," which plink and skip like a jazzed-up New Order, but never have the same visceral jolt.

Sometimes Heavy Wish is like getting high, and occasionally it is like watching someone get high. All in all, however, there's something welcome about its impurity about it in an age where even rock music's weirdos seem awfully clean (Fiery Furnaces and Sufjan Stevens come to mind). There's a moment at the end of the upbeat "Marblehead" where the horns become swampy and chaotic, casting a backwards glance at Radiohead's "National Anthem" (which had its eye on Miles Davis' notoriously druggy Bitches' Brew all along). You couldn't wish for a better metaphor for Odiorne's place in the food chain - at the very back of a noble lineage.

Reviewed by Niles Baranowski

See other reviews by Niles Baranowski



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