Out of Hands We Go

Out of Hands We Go

by O'DeathO'Death


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Few indie bands have woven Gothic Americana so tightly into their music-making fabric as O'Death. As evidenced by their three previous recordings, they've also pursued aesthetics that refuse to sit neatly inside those -- oftentimes very rigid -- confines. Fronted by chief songwriter Greg Jamie, O'Death have understood from the very beginning that American music is never exactly from the land contained by a given geographical location, but the result of sounds from many places that have been transformed by it. Out of Hands We Go is, on one level, the most stripped-down, raw offering in their catalog thus far, in no small part due to the expertise of recording engineer Caleb Mulkerin (Cerberus Shoal). This doesn't mean that the music is any less adventuresome or sprawling, only that their presentation is. The deep lonesome, rural folk in "Herd" is erected from a spine of banjo, bass, violin, and rhythm. But Jamie's stark, striking poetry and singular singing voice add limbs, flesh, and blood. The entwined electric guitars, percussion, and violin in "Roam" present a cut-time blues informed by indie rock and Hungarian gypsy roots music. As his voice does its distorted, emaciated howl, answered by guest Colleen Kinsella's layered backing chorus and whorls of instrumental sound, it stretches and contracts. It dislocates all centers save for his voice and words. "Apple Moon" is a choogling banjo- and snare-driven country tune with a forlorn lap steel pouring in from the margins. The brief "When My Dog Gets Out Let Him Run" sounds like it comes from a field recording from an indeterminate era. It is immediately answered by the full fidelity of "We Had a Vision," a bleak country waltz where the hypnotic banjo line is caressed and emphasized by a moody, mournful violin. Once Jamie begins to sing, another dimension is grafted onto the musical foundation. What emerges is an utterly bereft portrait of loss and grief. "Heal in the Howling" is its aftermath. It's another waltz unusually framed by a martial snare, with strummed banjo, a subdued bassline, and a repetitive violin that serves as something akin to a responsorial vocal. It's a song of twisted and thwarted desire. In Jamie's vocal grain, the past screams into the present, shame and heartbreak resonate anew; all the air gets sucked out of the room. Its nadir leaves the protagonist alone with only the weight of an awareness that his unrequited love is almost unspeakable. Out of Hands We Go is extraordinary even for O'Death. This band have so seamlessly juxtaposed several musical pasts and (re)created them in their image; they've also blurred the artificial boundaries of time in the process. This record is deeply unsettling in its emotional heft. It's a dark dream of an album whose want and regret create a gaping maw of need.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/07/2014
Label: Northern Spy Records
UPC: 0703610875289
catalogNumber: 58
Rank: 165330

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