Hits The Spot
Tuneful and inventive folk from O'Death, sweet melodies Will Oldham-esque vocals, banjo and violins, all the requisite elements are there but does this make for an enjoyable album. The answer, luckily is yes; though it's often melancholic in tone, "Outside" delivers well crafted tunes with heart.
From the outset "Outside" shows off solid guitar work and catchy vocal lines; opener 'Bugs' (a recent single) is one of the most melodic and has fantastic banjo and guitar riffs backed by lovely violin. 'Alamar' takes you by surprise with a darker tone produced by industrial clattering in the background and low vocal ooh's, it's a great tune. The album as a whole is never obvious; the band makes some interesting choices with instrumentation, in particular, their use of percussion is to be praised as depending on how they use it, it adds gravitas, or an industrial edge or just puts layers of depth under everything. 'Ourselves' is a great track, huge pounding drums, twinkling chimes, string bending from the electric guitar and toward the end a section of fuzz-laden distorted guitar creating echoes. On the other end of the scale though they're not afraid to go very minimal and scale things back for sparse but effective sounds on tracks like 'Don't Come Back'.
The album never breaks its spell, the band skilfully weaves a self-contained world which keeps you captivated until the last note; there is plenty of variety on offer, from slow, gentle melancholic skin tinglers to epic, sweeping violin led epics, and rockier drum heavy numbers, the band covers it all, and does it with style.