The Agit Reader
For those who have seen live music in Ohio, it can be argued that all the cities are known for certain styles: there’s the proto-punk and old rock & roll of Cleveland, Columbus’ current lo-fi, and Dayton’s off-kilter rock (Brainiac, Guided By Voices). Cincinnati can always be counted on for honest rock with a Southern edge, much like the city itself. So it’s not surprising that Brian Olive’s self-titled debut (recorded in a Cincy basement) is full of Southern-tinged guitars, soulful harmonies and straightforward melodies borrowed from the 1960s. Olive started his career as guitarist for the Greenhornes—some of whom went on to form the Raconteurs with Jack White of the White Stripes—and went on to join the Soledad Brothers. Some former Greenhornes also appear in the album credits, as does Mike Weinel, formerly of Heartless Bastards.Unexpected, however, is just how much musical ground is covered in this gem of a record, and with such cohesive results. There’s the upbeat horn- and piano-infused New Orleans parade of “The Day the Sun Is Coming (Sainte-Marie’s Dream),” the swagger of “Stealin’” and rollicking “Ida Red.” Throughout much of the record, Donna Jay Rubin and Holly and Tori Kadish lend their backing vocals for melodies that add soul and depth without ever being superfluous. “High Low” is aptly named, with its low sax and drums rumble laced with intricate bits of guitar. “See Me Mariona” is fully psychedelic—the Stone Roses meet 007 circa ’67. While “Echoing Light” comes off as a sweetly retro ballad, the record loses some of its momentum on slower tracks like “There Is Love” and “Killing Stone.” Still, it’s hard to find fault in these simple, yet inarguably pretty, ballads. Even those who are familiar with Olive’s work in other bands should have expectations succeeded by this impressive debut.
MP3: “There Is Love”