(REVIEW) Oberon Rose — Holographic Blues (LP)
With decadence coming to us in the form of a sensuous melody just about anyone could fall head over heels for, “Falling Up” graciously asks us to set our cares to the side and enter a world that is uniquely Oberon Rose’s this January. One of the nine gripping new songs included on the band’s latest album, Holographic Blues, “Falling Up” summarizes much of the aesthetic that Oberon Rose are holding closer than any other in this record — but it isn’t the only gem in the treasure chest. One of the most compelling elements of Holographic Blues is its multidimensional style, which tends to bring forth a different interpretation of its message with each and every listening session I’ve spent with it this month.
“Losers of the Year” and “Miss Lonely Heart” are a lot more conventional than “Sinner,” “Chinese Whisper” or “Upside Down World Are,” but the contrast between experimental rock and pop-structured alternative familiarity is crucial to appreciating this LP’s depth. If you’ve listened to anything Oberon Rose have recorded prior to their most recent venture into the recording studio, you’re likely to notice that almost all of this material feels a little leaner than it might have in previous settings. They’ve gotten really good at trimming up the fat, and compositionally speaking I think there’s a case to be made that this is their most mature and refined set of songs to be packaged into the same disc. There’s no arrogance, but at the same time there almost should be some considering what they grind out in these tracks.
The lyrical continuity in Holographic Blues is definitely provocative to say the least, but I’m really hesitant to call this a progressive record in nature. There’s no debating whether or not Oberon Rose are talented when it comes to sticking to a specified concept when it benefits the work they’re producing, but there’s also a significant difference between the way they’re building a story here and what a straight-up prog act might have done. I’m not saying they don’t have it in them — they absolutely do — but right now I think this is a group tailored more to a radio-ready format than they are anything overwhelmingly album-centric.
Critics have been taking note of the music Oberon Rose have been recording for years now, and I think that Holographic Blues has a real chance at expanding their audience in the best way possible. This band doesn’t need to consider selling-out any of their core ideals as they prepare for a new era in their career; in fact, they’ve got more of a shot at superstardom staying locked-in on the current trajectory they’re on than any other. Holographic Blues isn’t a flawless LP by any means, but for what it lacks in mainstream varnish it more than makes up for in originality which, as anyone who follows the indie beat is more than aware of by now, is a game-winner of an attribute if there ever was one.