|LEE HARVEY OSMOND — BEAUTIFUL SCARS (April 7th, 2015)
LEE HARVEY OSMOND — BEAUTIFUL SCARS (April 7th, 2015)
•ς• Pohár žánru psychedelic rock je naplněn mnoha dobrými umělci, jen málokdo z nich je však opravdu velký. Toto album je málo soudržné, protože experimentuje s různými sub–žánry a ten kýžený halucinogenní zážitek se nekoná, nebo spíše vytrácí. Tom Wilson sice má podmanivý hlas, neproniká však do plné podstaty psychedelické hudby. Tímto ho neposílám na pracák, vždyť chlapům a dívkám na konci dlouhého dne v Ontariu to plně postačuje, ... já však jsem opravdu náročný a to nejen proto, že mým současným domovem je Vysočina. Nic hraničního se zde nekoná, písně jsou však opravdu pouze dobré tím, že frontman volí pomalé tempo, svůdný a trance vyvolávající vokál, tremolo heavy kytaru a půlnoční náladu. “There is an incredible amount of honesty and ingenuity in this music that really shines through.” Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Album release: April 7th, 2015
Record Label: Latent Recordings
01 Loser Without Your Love 6:59
02 Blue Moon Drive 3:23
03 Shake the Hand 3:38
04 Oh the Gods 5:11
05 Dreams Come and Go 4:21
06 Hey Hey Hey 4:43
07 How Does It Feel 5:36
08 Planet Love 4:07
09 Black Spruce 6:13
10 Bottom of Our Love 3:39
11 Hell Boy Blues 2:08
•ς• Greetings, music lovers. Allow us to draw attention to the new slab by the emminent and hirsute Steeltown reprobate, Lee Harvey Osmond, aka Tom Wilson aka One of Three Rodeo Kings aka that large, melodic growling man from the former Junkhouse. This record is called “Beautiful Scars,” as in: “Man, that scar is beautiful,” or “She has a beautiful scar right here…” or “My scar is beautiful. It reminds me of that time I didn’t die.” The humanity of the album — produced by Michael Timmins in the intimacy of his Toronto Roncesvalles studio — is like the warmth of blood that rushes to the cut: a sudden jolt in the middle of peril and uncertainty; a suspension of possibility that anything can happen next. Redolent with swooning horns and guitars that bob and weave, LHO’s voice — forever the hallmark of his sound, which spans over three decades of work — sounds, here, like a warm hand to the forehead, an arm on the arm of the stricken, a comforting growl at the heart of a screaming world. At once evoking Howlin’ Wolf, Mike Scott and Roy Loney, “Beautiful Scars” bends and twists and stretches and squeezes LHO’s deep baritone, the producer treating it as if caged in a transistor radio, bathed in echo from above, or sunk in the muck of distortion. The strength of the songs notwithstanding, “Beautiful Scars” is a fascinating vocal journey to rank among the great sonic Canadian records of our time.
•ς• Through the truncheon swing of “Loser for your Love” to the haunting balladry of “Come and Go” to the morose beauty of “Burning in My Bed” to the exotic fusion of the album’s penultimate track, “Black Spruce,” “Beautiful Scars” journeys between the quiet, smouldering, raging, moving and sad. Lyrically, LHO reflects on the mistakes of the singer’s past with the resigned perspective of someone coming through the other side. A song like “Hey, Hey, Hey” — featuring a thrilling slide guitar piece by Aaron Goldstein — describes two lovers caught in the throes of personal despair, their “dreams turned to rust,” their lives waiting until “the morning comes and sweeps us both away.” LHO sings: “The world is fucked up. And so are you and I.” It defines an album, and a songwriter, bereft of any choices other than to keep moving for fear of sinking into the mire of a dark past.
•ς• This is the 3rd solo album from the Hamilton songwriter — the progenitor of “Acid Folk,” — whose previous two albums, “A Quiet Evil” and “The Folk Sinner” were previously long–listed for the Polaris Prize and nominated for a Juno. It’s a dynamic footprint on Canada’s song–scape, a deeply personal, but universally affecting, journey across the jagged line of scars and smoothness of skin that surrounds them.
Website: http://leeharveyosmond.com/ Review
John Paul; Score: 4/5
•ς• Lee Harvey Osmond, the guise of Canadian singer–songwriter Tom Wilson, inhabits the night’s darker corners. Singing from the depths of interminable sorrow with a cavernous, gravelly baritone capable of overwhelmingly subtle emotion, Wilson crafts a sense of neo–Waitsian noir with his third release, Beautiful Scars. Brushed snares, organ stabs, tremolo–heavy guitars, jazz–tinged horns, and a sense of permanent midnight dominate these ten songs of love and loss.
•ς• By employing a range of styles steeped in calculated cool, Wilson’s approach to heartache is one wrapped in an ever–present mist that clings tightly to the base of flickering streetlights. To listen to Beautiful Scars is to get lost in black and white, shadows chasing the night as it wrestles with the light. Cigarette smoke lingers beside abandoned whiskey glasses illuminated by failing neon, the moon a cloud–enveloped sliver clinging to the night sky.
•ς• It’s a highly stylized approach that, coupled with the sympathetic warmth of Michael Timmins’ (Cowboy Junkies) production, perfectly compliments Wilson’s lyrics. Rather than simply hanging in the air, Wilson’s words create vivid scenes shrouded in the more bittersweet elements of the human condition. Little surprise then that he recently scored a book deal to pen a memoir. Given the seemingly autobiographical nature of these songs, however, one has to wonder how much more there is to say and how it can possibly be as effective as hearing the words delivered in his rich voice.
•ς• “How Does It Feel,” a lovely, lonely ballad features Wilson’s deeply resonant vocals smoldering heavy in the mix, looming large over the sparse instrumental accompaniment. It’s a breath–taking mix that, when listened to in headphones, illuminates the depths of his voice, flashes of nuance and subtle shading swallowed up in the desolate shadows of heartache and loss. Craggy and speaker rumbling, his voice is a remarkable instrument that perfectly conveys the emotional toll of sadness and loss. Exceptionally, beautifully bleak, “How Does It Feel” is a highlight.
•ς• On the rare moments here he delves into straight ahead folk, his voice is nearly identical to that of Greg Brown’s organic, resonant baritone. This is especially true on the lovely “Dreams Come and Go,” a song very much in the vein of Brown’s best work. While folk singer is Wilson’s best–known musical persona, placing the song within the context of the more noir material that precedes it makes it feel somewhat incongruous. But even a cursory listen to the lyrics help reaffirm its case for inclusion, the song again directed at a former lover (presumably the same as before), and thematically of a piece with the rest of the album.
•ς• Closing track “Bottom of Our Love” has the feel of a young Tom Waits, via Greg Brown, exploring his country roots. While a lyrically thematic fit, it, along with “Come And Go,” sounds wildly out of place musically. That these two still manage to work within the context of the album is a testament to Wilson’s gifts as not just a songwriter, but chronicler of heartache. An endlessly effecting homage to a failing love, “Bottom of Our Love” is a perfect distillation of the album’s themes delivered against a sparse backdrop. As the last notes wring out, the sadness is palpable, sated only by another spin. •ς• http://spectrumculture.com/
Lee Harvey Osmond, the guise of Canadian singer–songwriter Tom Wilson, inhabits the night’s darker corners.
|LEE HARVEY OSMOND — BEAUTIFUL SCARS (April 7th, 2015)