Sep 8, 2008
Portland, Oregon’s latest contribution to the world of indie pop music, Oh Darling, won’t remind you of The Beatles. But this engaging and energetic quintet may suggest early Go-Go’s, Blond Redhead, and, at least when it comes to lead singer Jasmine Ash, Portishead’s Beth Gibbons — a compliment indeed.Now, this is distinguished company for any band, especially one that has yet to release an album. But Oh Darling’s first, Nice Nice, is set to drop on September 16. Whatever you do, buy the disc. Just buy it. Or buy and download it now from Amazon.
When you do, you’ll discover a band possessing several distinct pedigrees, including those mentioned above. But more importantly, you will have before you a band that sounds comfortably familiar and yet cutting edge. Oh Darling is pop music, clearly. But you’ll find in Nice Nice elements of electronic music, what used to be called trip-hop, and dance (although that is the least of what Nice Nice is about).This is a preview only. But there’s no reason to think “Shoulda Never,” or “The Ocean,” or the upbeat and infectious “Electrocute” are not precursors to the album’s remaining seven cuts.
Nice Nice is filled with, above all else, the distinctly assertive but at times fragile voice of Ash. She does, indeed, sound at times like Gibbons, but her tendency is to stay light and soft, yet without allowing the fuzzed-down guitars or the sharp-as-a-nail drums to subsume her ethereality. Ash’s voice can also sound emphatic and pointed, as it does in the edgy and sardonic “Electrocute,” the album’s best, though way too short, illustration of Ash’s flexibility.On Nice Nice not everything is airy and lethargic; strong pop hooks may not abound, but they are a vital part of what the album is all about: subtle genre-bending music that plays as well on Sunday morning (“The Ocean”) and it did the night before (“Waking Up on A Train”).
Mark your calendars: Nice Nice on September 16.