||Beacons CD (2009) |
Ohbijou discography On their second release, Beacons, the Toronto-based indie pop ensemble Ohbijou sound more self-assured -- vocalist Casey Mecija, in particular, sounds far more confident. Which is odd, because her voice seems so fragile otherwise -- in the midst of all the elemental, atmospheric multi-instrumental flourishes that crowd Beacons, her tender, vibrato-heavy soprano sounds as if it were no bigger than the head of a pin. Maybe she sounds confident because Ohbijou enjoyed quite a bit of success leading up to this album -- the band collected armloads of accolades in their native Canada, including an Indie Band Residency in Banff. Whatever the reason, this confidence makes for a solid (not dazzling, but solid) second album. Ohbijou sound more meditative, more mannered here, hovering somewhere between Sarah Blasko and the Decemberists. A lot of room on Beacons is given over to meandering, introspective tracks ("Thunderlove," "Cliff Jumps") -- and as glimmering and darkly lovely as they are, they don't quite match the sparkling, slapdash wildness that characterized Ohbijou's debut, Swift Feet for Troubling Times. Which isn't to say that Ohbijou don't try to reach the heights of, say, a track like "St. Francis" (the lead single from their debut) -- "Black Ice" and "Wildfires," are quietly stirring, even though they miss single-worthy catchiness by a hair's breadth. Truth be told, it's tough to really put a finger on one stand-out track on Beacons -- a problem that definitely didn't plague Swift Feet. That said, this disc is well worth the price of admission for fans of Ohbijou's previous work -- this is an elegant, grown-up elaboration on the band's previous work. ~ Margaret Reges
Recording information: 70 Gladstone; 97 Wanless; Banff Center for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada; Bellwoods; Canterbury Studio, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Muldrew Lake, Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada; Starry Night; The Cereal Box; The Cereal Loft; The Lincoln County Social Club; Thrush Holmes Empire, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; U Of T.
Personnel: Heather Kirby (vocals, guitar, banjo); Anissa Hart (vocals, cello); James "Chip" Bunton (vocals, melodica, trumpet, drums, percussion); Nick Krgovich (vocals); Chris Stringer (acoustic guitar); Barry Shiffman (viola).
Audio Mixers: Shawn Everett; Chris Stringer; Tony Berg; Howard Bilerman.