Friday, January 29, 2010

Bubbling Under #112. Oh, My Girl

112. Oh, My Girl, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter (Barsuk, 2004)

Seattle pair Jesse and Jim Sykes led Hominy, whose rootsy girl-n-guy harmonies recalling L.A. rockers X resulted in one ’98 LP. When their relationship ended she kept the surname, forming a new band with ex-Whiskeytown guitarist Phil Wandscher; in the new decade they would release three albums to increased exposure and success. Sykes’s own material operates on a different plain than titles of Hominy tunes like “Sunny Days and Raisinets” might suggest.  Her husky voice is the focus, despite its dynamic limitations; it conjures a hazy, quarter-speed world of gothic country that rarely swings but frequently allures, a beautiful gloom later earning her a guest slot with doom metal bands Sunn O))) and Boris. On her first solo LP, ’02’s Reckless Burning, the recipe is complete yet cloaked in a drabness absent from her next album and finest work of the decade, Oh, My Girl. Where Burning sometimes plods, Girl captures the zeitgeist perfectly. The songs call upon ghosts and departed lovers, the season is usually winter, and happiness has passed: “We used to be free,” opens Birds Over Water; “We fell through the cracks,” she sings in Grow a New Heart. This wistfulness remains even on the album’s liveliest cuts; the bright arrangements of songs like Tell the Boys and The Dreaming Dead foreshadow the pop-influenced explorations of her next album, ’07’s Like, Love, Lust, and the Open Halls of the Soul. Of her Aughts work, though, Girl best captures her haunting talents.

Highlights: Your Eyes Told; Oh, My Girl; Tell the Boys

Read the NOYOUCMON mission statement here.

No comments:

Post a Comment