Graham Reid | | <1 min read
After a series of fine albums, Ohio's
Over the Rhine here -- with sympathetic producer Joe Henry –
deliver their most sophisticated album to date, one with an ear on
their European-cabaret sounding alt.country (with exceptional players
such as steel guitarist Greg Leisz) in songs of uncertainty and
reassurance, and torch ballads of love lost.
Singer Karin Bergquist has seldom
sounded so assured and hints at Billie Holiday (the rather too wordy
Infamous Love Song) as much as cool cabaret-noir. The
rollicking, word-spilling Rave On (from the B.H. Fairchild
poem) about kids deliberately crashing a car to test themselves as
Buddy Holly plays is unlike anything they've done previously; There's
a Bluebird in My Heart is an instantly familiar bluesy, nightclub
piano ballad; and Oh Yeah By the Way could be a refined Nick
Lowe ballad about “the self-inflicted wounds [of love] that made
you what you are”.
All My Favourite People (“are
broken, believe me my heart should know”) could have come from Tom
Waits in his slurry, late 70s period when he would write of “poets
working the graveyard shift”. Waits is a touchstone here (although
more refined and melodic) and in this context even the aching
Undamned – where Bergquist trades lines with Lucinda
Williams – is put in the shade.
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