Monday, December 27, 2010

Over The Rhine - The Long Surrender

Over The Rhine
The Long Surrender
(c)2011 Independent

Anytime I listen to OtR, it's like the feeling you get when returning to your home town after a long spell. The same streets, the general store, that old tire swing still hanging from the oak tree down the street from the house you grew up in, all whisking and beckoning back to a simpler time in your life. The simpler time was no less relevant than it is in this moment. Old faces and friends, new faces occupying your old haunts, that broken down car where plenty of boyhood memories came alive.

This new chapter for Karin and Linford appears embedded in the meat, the guts of the every day man. Her soulful pining, which grabs at the air like an in-the-moment blues singer pulling at generational ghosts, is altogether serene, subtle, and haunting. Married to Linford's tasteful compositions and delicate piano fingers, their presence in this modern musical landscape is anything but a passing shadow. Their imprint, I dare say, will be a lasting one.

"The Long Surrender" reminds me of a cross between the gentle moments of "Ohio" (2003) and "Drunkard's Prayer" (2005) and a long, lost Blue Note release of some satin-clad lounge singer that is a collector's item, for the sheer beauty of the voice. Being a listener supported project, "The Laugh Of Recognition", greets the listener with a plea to keep plugging along even though "...Everybody has a dream/That they will never own". Then, the OtR concert-goer settles in to a continuing ballad versus soulful blues/gospel interplay throughout the remainder of this intimate "house concert". There is no other way to explain the intimacy felt throughout their current disc without imagining sitting in some hole-in-the-wall place, totally conscious of the breathtaking moment one is in. "Rave On" is one of those driven songs that you wish never ends with an undercurrent rhythm and subtle effects trailing in the shadows. Different on this disc is the addition of saxophone on a few tracks, and might I say the perfect instrument to compliment Karin's powerful vocals. Few songs stand apart, maybe this just being present mood, but "Undamned", "Infamous Love Song", and "The King Knows How" strike me in that musically tingle spot. Actually, the jazz-dripped "There's A Bluebird In My Heart" and the sax solo make my inner musician sensibilities melt.

Reminiscing about old neighborhoods never felt so comforting. The old tire swing is still hanging from that towering oak tree. Over The Rhine live to see another day. This is the closest to an in-concert experience, in my opinion, that you will find without being there.

10 of 10 clicks
December 2010

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1 comment:

Chad said...

excellent review - can't wait to listen to it.