The O's - Between The Two
2011, Idol Records
Texas rockers The O’s avoid the sophomore slump on Between The Two, getting back to their musical roots in a set of twelve modern yet classic sounding tunes. Drawing on influences as diverse as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and The Everly Brothers, The O’s put the finishing touches in place with the help of GRAMMY winning producer Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, The White Stripes). With over 300 shows on two continents under their belts, The O’s move forward into 2011 with the sort of momentum only hard work and talent can bring.
Between The Two opens with "We'll Go Walkin'", a wonderfully coherent Americana blend of country and folk with a distinctive pop sensibility. It's a love song that's a bit outside the box. You can't help but tap your toes to this one, and you'll be humming the chorus for days. "Wrecking Ball" is a well-crafted tune about living on the edge of disaster. It's a poignant number for the modern age, when for most families disaster is only one paycheck away. "In Numbers We Survive" is an infectious mix of bluegrass and folk that gets stuck in your head and stays there. There's an edgy insistence in the arrangement that's compelling.
"Tryin' To Have A Good Time" is a light listen, not so much for analysis as for pure enjoyment. The theme is all about planning to have a good time, but the song will get your feet moving and features outstanding guitar work. "We Are Young" is a perspective on growing up from one who is looking up at the road leading to the mountain. There is something of a melancholy feel here, but the musical aesthetics are great. "Time For A Change" is a catchy number with a positive vibe and is very enjoyable. "Sunshine" is somewhat confounding for meaning. It's a love song, to be uncertain, but for or to who is never really clear.
"Pushin' Along" rides great composition and musicianship. The overall output is solid, but as an instrumental work it would be sublime. The O's fall into something of a lull, re-emerging with the wonderfully upbeat and happy "Everything's Alright". The picking here is tremendous, and the bouncy feel to the song will have crowds on their collective feet. "No Troubles Left At All" is a downbeat number with a great outlook. It's a love song that opines on how great life is with her by his side, no matter what else may come. It's a sweet sentiment that avoids cliché.
Between The Two has some highs and lows, but generally stays on an even keel as a better than average album overall. The O's seem to have an ear for aesthetics, crafting arrangements that do more than just wrap around the melody line. As musicians, you'd be hard pressed to find a more solidly connected ensemble. The chemistry here is palpable. Just as in any other band, not every song works perfectly, but even the misses are worth tuning in for.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)