Mark Olson: Many Colored Kite (Ryko)

 |   |  1 min read

Mark Olson: Bluebell Song
Mark Olson: Many Colored Kite (Ryko)

As a founder member of the Jayhawks - and for the album '09 Ready for the Flood with former-Hawk Gary Louris -- Olson would always command a fair hearing, but this 11 track outing with roots of fingerpicking Anglofolk as much as Americana becomes a very difficult haul.

Although Olson seems to have put some of his demons behind him his vocals here are narrow in emotional range and often irritatingly dry so the album, as we say, "broadcasts on a narrow frequency".

Of interest however are little moves in the direction of The Incredible String Band when they slipped free of rigid constraints of the rhythmic pulse (the pastoral Morning Dove, one of the best things here), some songs which could have come from the pen of Daniel Johnston (the title track, No Time to Live Without Her), and Jolie Holland sounding like an alt.country Grace Slick in the background of Little Bird of Freedom.

Good to hear him get broody and menacing on the cello-embellished Kingsnake ("some highways are built on old paths, some are built where they never should be"), but in far too many places the arrangements for strings support and add emotional weight to songs which seem anxious to make a statement but are largely unengaging, and plaintive to the point of irritation (Scholastica).

Some will welcome the return of Olson and his folksiness, but even here on the guitar jangle of the alt.country Wind and Rain ("empty pockets are a part of love") this is undoubtedly heartfelt, but easy to pass by.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Subtitled “Alternative Takes on Congotronics”, this well-annotated double disc lets loose alternative and post-rock acts on the lo-fi but compelling music from Kinshasa dance clubs... > Read more

Gareth Thomas: Fizzy Milk (gareththomastunes.com)

Gareth Thomas: Fizzy Milk (gareththomastunes.com)

In a cover so good you want it album-size to frame, this second solo album by Auckland songwriter Gareth Thomas – formerly of Goodshirt – really does fizz with addictive pop which... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SHIRIN NESHAT, IRANIAN PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILM MAKER INTERVIEWED (2004): Fundamental truths

SHIRIN NESHAT, IRANIAN PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILM MAKER INTERVIEWED (2004): Fundamental truths

The Iranian-born photographer and film maker Shirin Neshat left her homeland in 1974 to work in the United States and now, after a terrifying interrogation on her last trip back six years ago, has... > Read more

Moroccan Roast Beef inna barbecue style

Moroccan Roast Beef inna barbecue style

If you don't have a barbecue with a lid you might want to do this one in the oven, but there is nothing quite like the steamy aroma of the Moroccan flavours when you open the lid to check on this... > Read more