There’s a tricky dissonance that wafts through the undercurrent of the most beautiful recordings I’ve listened to in my life. It’s the unexpected collaborations or spellbinding accidents of circumstance that unite elements into original flavors. The illogical syllogisms in music are the ones that surprisingly seem to work the best. Such is the case of O+S, whose self-titled debut will be released via Saddle Creek Records on March 24th.
Each originally hailing from Birmingham, the combination of Orenda Fink (of Azure Ray and Art In Manila) and Scalpelist aka Cedric LeMoyne (of Remy Zero) rely on their shared and essential love of found music and recorded voices to serve as a binder to their haunting, and frequently swellingly harmonic, sonic adventures. With the help of Michael Patterson (producer/engineer of Beck, Notorious B.I.G. and others), they seamlessly merge elements of their musical specialties together into a sound which, while resembling art-rock, seems to transcend those into a wellspring of warm, lush drone pop.
In the most humbling sense, the collective sound of O+S resembles a mesh of classic 4AD recordings, the elemental 90’s offerings of Hope Sandoval and Mazzy Star, my favorite music from noted Lynchian soundtrack contributor Julee Cruise and music of Canadian songbird (and longtime personal favorite) Jane Siberry. Though O+S is by no means a copy of the aforementioned, the vocal qualities of Orenda Fink and the textual layering of her vocals bears a fair and uncanny resemblance, particularly on the songs “We Do What We Want To” and “Survive Love”. These ten songs come across with an unnerving cool at times, touching on subjects that we don’t talk about in ways that songwriters often fear to express themselves.
The musical landscape of the record, thanks to Scalpelist and Patterson, is dotted with punchy drum loops, backwards-maskings and psychedelic meanderings clicking beneath the surface of simple guitar and piano parts, imbuing the songs with sonic cacophonies and droning folk-pop anthems unlike anything I’ve heard in recent memory. O+S have unleashed on the world a record that bears witness to pop sensibility while embracing a fearlessly experimental approach in it’s songwriting and performances. I would urge my readers to seek out this album & hopefully see O+S when they perform live in a city near you this spring.
You can purchase o+s from Amazon by clicking here.