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Prolusion. OHO is a long-lasting US band that made a name for themselves amongst those with a deeper interest in innovative art rock with their self-released debut effort "Okinawa" in 1974. A few years later the outfit more or less disbanded, but in the early 80's they became an active unit again, led by David Reeve and Jay Graboski. Since then they have issued three full-length efforts and a compilation, if I have understood their homepage correctly, and in 2008 it was time for "Bricolage", a CD and DVD compiling previously unreleased material made from 1983 and onwards, fleshed out by seven more songs pulled from the aforementioned albums.
TRACK LIST: 1. The Great Attractor 3:58 2. Eros Is a Verb 4:04 3. Burning Grey 3:34 4. Close But No Cigar 4:12 5. Time 4:45 6. Plowing the Sea 3:37 7. Blue Fix 3:43 8. S/he 3:27 9. Dream Lifted Up 4:50 10. Penultimatum 4:02 11. Under Covers 3:37 12. Painted Stars 3:39 13. Moon Draw Your Curtain 4:37 14. Limousine 3:57 15. The Secret 3:26 16. Antique Heart 3:30 17. Shouts in the Street 3:37 18. Ethiopia 3:54 19. It Will Not Be Late 3:49 20. Angels 4:20 LINEUP: Jay Graboski – guitars; backing vocals David Reeve – drums; keyboards With: Frank Murphy – bass; b/v Bill Phelan – el. & ac. guitars; b/v Xoho Lazaroni – keyboards; b/v Gene Meros – saxophone, flute Sue Tice – violin &: Many more singers, bassists and keyboardists
Analysis. One of the more difficult challenges that face many artists at some point is what will occur if they decide to change their musical orientation. There are always a number of fans ready to scream abuse if their chosen favorite creates something vastly different than what they did last time around, and even minute alterations may lead to some followers being both vocal and outspoken on how they feel about it. I don't know how the fans of Oho responded, but I suspect that whatever fan base a band has established in its first lease of life will react to the radical change of stylistic expression it took: an alteration in expression that makes even a historical and well-documented example – like Genesis - pale ever so slightly in comparison. Frank Zappaand early Pink Floyd have been cited by Oho as inspirations for their first endeavors. By 2008 there was no trace left of those leanings. Not even the slightest detail of avant-garde in terms of both music and lyrics are to be found, and the psychedelic and symphonic aspects of the band's former repertoire have been eradicated as well. In fact, Oho as presented on this CD doesn't bear any resemblance to the original at all. Musically we're dealing with a band exploring a style generally described as pop rock now. Brief, straightforward compositions with a regular verse and chorus structure, with the acoustic guitar as the dominating instrument and vocal-heavy songs that, one exception aside, are all led by a female lead vocalist. Celtic-like folk motifs are carefully added to the proceedings by way of flute and violin on select occasions, while subtle and careful use of keyboards fleshes out the arrangements. Most of the songs are mid-paced creations, and are in general fairly energetic numbers. The odd piece sporting a slightly more sophisticated approach can be found, but by and large these are tunes crafted with an emphasis on groove-laden themes and easygoing atmospheres. Personally I don't have anything against this type of music, but, as I regard it, it takes an enormous degree of talent and skill to craft memorable songs in this very well-covered style. The musicianship and performance need to be stellar, too, for this kind of material to manage to make any kind of impact any audience that prefers to listen to pop rock. And while I suspect that the latter will rather enjoy this production, I don't see this disc having the qualities to gain a reach beyond that crowd. Not because the material isn't good, but because it isn't any better than what thousands of similar artists produce.
Dedicated fans of progressive rock won't find much to cater for their needs with this CD and DVD package from the US act OHO, and those who fell for the band due to their debut effort "Okinawa" will most likely be baffled by the music presented on this production. But if you like straightforward, easygoing yet spirited pop rock of the radio friendly variety, "Bricolage" should be of interest. Skilled musicians with decent songs and the occasional dip beyond the bread and butter variety of this style, and I suspect many with a taste for mainstream pop and rock, should find this material to be likeable if introduced to it.
Conclusion. Dedicated fans of progressive rock won't find much to cater for their needs with this CD and DVD package from the US act OHO, and those who fell for the band due to their debut effort "Okinawa" will most likely be baffled by the music presented on this production. But if you like straightforward, easygoing yet spirited pop rock of the radio friendly variety, "Bricolage" should be of interest. Skilled musicians with decent songs and the occasional dip beyond the bread and butter variety of this style, and I suspect many with a taste for mainstream pop and rock, should find this material to be likeable if introduced to it.
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