Friday, August 7, 2009

Oblisk: Album and Gig Review

Oblisk, a band from Detroit, Michigan, has released their second album, titled Weather Patterns, and are in the midst of touring to support this amazing piece of work. I got the chance to see the band perform in Brooklyn at one of the best small places to see live music, Public Assembly. I also got my copy of Weather Patterns, which is now on heavy rotation.
Oblisk's debut album, 2008's Tune In/Tune Out, was a ride through back streets, late at night, not knowing what lay around the dark corners, feeling a bit nervous to find out. The songs had a jittery quality paired with vocals that were a bit moody and hollow, just enough to make you wonder what the ghosts were, and this made for an engrossing debut album. Now with Weather Patterns, Oblisk keeps some elements that are signature: the deep, ghostly vocals and the themes of situations unknown and a bit dangerous and disturbing, but the instrumentation has grown to include layers of guitars that create waves of sound that swell to intense highs. The drumming is tighter, less skittish now, and the bass lines, though also retaining a signature Oblisk sound, are deep enough to be the undertow you must watch out for within those waves. On Radar uses some shoegaze-style-guitar feedback perfectly. Epicenter picks up the pace to a frenzy of post-punk style guitar, reminiscent of Wire. Silent Passenger utilizes the undertow of bass to carry the song, which tells of a chance, and of course, possibly dangerous, encounter with a stranger. The psychedelic reverb of the guitar on Overcast is perfectly paired with a choppy drum that stomps its way through the song.
Oblisk live is something you should see if you live near the cities along the Eastern half of the U.S. where they are currently touring. On Radar, Tunnel of Phoenix, and Overcast are phenomenal live. Nick Baran's an ace guitarist, really something to watch. Check out Oblisk on MySpace to see if they are coming to a city near you, and buy Weather Patterns. If you liked Tune In/Tune Out, you will really love Weather Patterns. The production is tops (album was produced by Isaac Betesh from House Of Fire), the songs are guitar-heavy trips to nowhere and back, and the CD artwork is simple, yet perfectly represents what this album is all about (very nice work, Dave).

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