Saturday, April 23, 2011
Oryx and Crake - Oryx + Crake (2010)
I mentioned Oryx and Crake what seems like ages ago but it's only now that I'm getting a chance to sit down with their debut album, Oryx + Crake. As to why it's taken such a long time, I should explain that Oryx + Crake isn't the type of album you listen to everyday. The thing that sets Oryx and Crake apart from other folk-tronica bands like Crystal Fighters or tuung is exactly why you can't listen to Oryx + Crake too much. Somber, lush, and richly melancholic, Oryx + Crake is mood music. Album opener "Fun Funeral" is a bit of a misnomer, there's nothing all that fun about it. It's langurously listless and kind of depressing. You'd think for a band that combines violin, cello and banjo with dancy beats, they'd be a bit more upbeat. It's not until around midway through the album in a soaring moment during "Open Your Eyes" where the album gets its first hint of anything resembling mirth. But it's deceptively shortlived. Sure the album kind of bucks up- speeding up a bit, but the lyrics are still rather dark and any glimpses of vitality are gone before they really have a chance to make a lasting impact.
That's not to say there's anything wrong with Oryx and Crake. They're different and talented and the album is nothing short of incredible, it's just not necessarily the type of music you want to hear when you'd rather be dancing or celebrating. At least for the first part of it. Whereas the first part of the album is kind of soulcrushing (to put it lightly), the second is sprinkled with moments of hope and traces of something vaguely resembling joy (at least for a little bit). With Oryx + Crake, The Atlanta 9 piece proves it's a force to be reckoned with able to conjure up pain simply and efficiently in a way that belies it's large size. There's definitely a more to come from Oryx and Crake, let's just hope it's a bit...happier.
Give Oryx and Crake's debut album a listen on their Bandcamp.