Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fourteen ways to live your life more like a pirate

As published in the 11/7 issue of The Racquette.

If you've ever dreamed of a life as a bootlegger, pirate, Eastern European vagrant, railroad worker, or revolutionary, O'Death's latest release, Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin just might be the album for you. The album's title immediately gives you an idea of the morbidity and sensibilities of the band. From the opening violin pizzicato, this album will pull you right in. Each of the fourteen unique tracks give the listener an excuse to role-play in any strange situation they'd like.

The band explores lots of different bluegrass instruments, from banjo to fiddle, in addition to their traditional rock band line-up. Other instruments that sometimes appear on their recordings are ukulele, piano, trombone, and euphonium. The textures they are able to produce through this juxtaposition of styles are incomparable to most other punk fusion bands.

Their influences lie in the songs of Appalachia, gospel music and punk vivacity. Their "olde tyme" poster art and aesthetic adds to their appeal and individuality, while their snarling stage presence defines their image. It is refreshing to find a band that has established its own new aesthetic based on traditional sources.

Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin truly takes the listener into a different time and different mindset. The feel of Appalachian folk music underlying their original songs is not only anachronistic to most listeners, but haunting by nature.

Growing in prominence in several punk and alternative circles, O'Death has shared stages with Beat Circus, Death Vessel, Humanwine, Hoots & Hellmouth and Takka Takka. They recently embarked on a 34-date tour in support of Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin.

If you are in the mood for something frantic, something passionate, something unusual and disturbing, or something that compels you on a gut level to get up, dance, and break things, you should listen to O'Death. There is not a single weak track on this album. Listen for it on SUNY Potsdam's radio station, WAIH "The Way" 90.3FM in the coming weeks.

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